BEVERLY HILLS, April 22, (THEWILL) – One of the most unrepentant proponents of the now defunct European Super League (ESL), Florentino Perez, who is the immensely influential president of La Liga giants Real Madrid, has not relented in his strong views about the necessity of the format proposed by the initial 12 founding members of the ESL, as the surest means of maintaining football’s highest standards.
Speaking about this, Perez directly addressed most of the fans who led the demonstrations that contributed to the pressure clubs that withdrew from the ESL had to deal with in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of the new League.
He argued that fans of any club nursing the idea of signing either of Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe or Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland can kiss that goodbye without the ESL, as the financial wherewithal will be lacking in the current structure that presently operates in football.
Perez’s own side, Real, was one of 12 that committed to the breakaway competition. A strong attraction for the clubs who signed into the ESL was the promise of about £300 million before the end of the 2020/2021 football season.
The opinion of the Real President is that by withdrawing from the good-intentioned ESL, the biggest clubs in Europe have lost access to that windfall, which makes it impossible for them to raise the kinds of funds to acquire players of the talents of Mbappe and Haaland as either of them comes with price tags well over £100 million, amounts that are unrealistic for clubs especially those still hit by the ravages of the pandemic.
Harping on the financial basis of the ESL, Perez said: “In general, there will not be big transfers this summer. When money does not flow from the rich clubs to the poor clubs, everyone suffers. It’s impossible to make signings like Mbappe and Haaland, in general, not just for Real Madrid, without the Super League.
“If we don’t sign Mbappe this summer, I don’t think any fan will shoot himself in the head. They know we’re doing our best, and if things don’t happen, it’s because they’re impossible.”
The money crunch is taking its toll on many sides including at the Santiago Bernabeu and Perez hinted that there may be the need to sell some players to balance the books and keep the club above water: “It depends on Real Madrid’s situation. This year we’re bringing in €300m less. We need to sell a player, do things.
“I’ve done what I can up to now and I haven’t done it badly. Despite a few people saying I don’t know about football. I know what it’s like to come into a club in 2000 where people hadn’t been paid. I put up everything I could and changed the world with the Galacticos and went from losing €30m or €40m a year to bringing that in.”
One of the admissions Perez made while making his arguments for the ESL was Real’s desire to retain the services of inspiring centre-back Sergio Ramos. He revealed that he considers Ramos “like a son” and was prepared to keep him at Real for the foreseeable future.
After emerging through Sevilla’s youth academy and spending two seasons with the senior side, Ramos joined Los Blancos in the summer of 2005. Since then, he has gone on to become a mainstay for Real Madrid at the backline, and has won 22 major honours, including five La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles to become one of La Liga’s top goalscorers from a defensive position.