Florentino Perez: "MARCA tries to destabilize Real Madrid"

Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid, spoke before the press at the VIP box of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium to deny a report published in a Madrid newspaper (MARCA) claiming that the players had demanded the exit of coach Jose Mourinho: “I’m speaking in light of the seriousness of what happened in order to make it clear that there was no ultimatum that the coach or anyone else leave the team given at the captain’s lunch. We had lunch to discuss bonuses. The meeting was held in a relaxed atmosphere as usual. What has been said is not true, not in its content or in how much was said. I respect the press and I respect criticisms although they seem unfair. There are ethical limits that should be respected by those that aren’t a part of our project. It doesn’t seem ethical to resort to lies to destabilize the club”.

Florentino Perez attending a press conference as Real Madrid president
Florentino Perez

In his roughly 15 minute talk Florentino Perez explained that he was left with no choice but to call the press conference to respond to the seriousness of the situation, something he usually doesn’t do: “As you can see, given the seriousness of what happened today I’ve broken my own rule about not speaking about day-to-day team business. It is absolutely false that any kind of ultimatum was discussed regarding the coach or anything similar at the lunch we had with the captains last Tuesday. As you all know, we usually have lunch in January with the two captains and the general manager in order to set the bonuses for the different competitions of the season.”

The Real Madrid president stressed that “the meeting was held as usual in a relaxed atmosphere with a responsible attitude on the part of the captains. What has been reported is untrue. Neither the content or the quantities of what was discussed, and I want to reiterate that I have a lot of respect for the press. I take criticisms although they might be objectively unfair or seem so to me. I think that I’ve demonstrated my ability to withstand the repeated insults that attempt to control the path of this club over the years. But I think there are ethical boundaries that must be respected, even by those that don’t share our opinion”.

In addition, Perez said that one of the foundations of journalism is to check information, something that wasn’t done in this case: “None of the four people at the meeting, two here before you and Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, have been called to check the truth of what was said or to get our version of the story. I think that’s very serious. I even understand that someone might want someone else to leave the club, but to resort to lies to destabilize the club and the team to make that happen, even when we win and secure our place in the Copa del Rey semifinals, I say publically that it seems unethical to me. These types of things have happened repeatedly, but they’re not going to happen again”.

Florentino Perez took advantage of the moment to send a message of unity against the systematic attacks on the club: “I have to say, beyond it being in the interests of some, it’s just simply a lie. I also want to remind the members and fans about our unity, which has made us into the best club in the world. We’re the only ones that decide the future of our club”.

There was a question and answer session for journalists after the president’s press conference. Florentino Perez reiterated the seriousness of the situation and the reason for his appearance: “I’m here to deny a false report that aims to achieve personal goals and destabilize the world’s most prestigious organization that has 100 years of history. The information published today after a really important win for our club is that the Real Madrid captains have given the club an ultimatum. I’m telling you that this information is really serious and I want to say publically that it’s a lie. These reports come to no good for Madrid nor for the newspaper that publishes them.”

MARCA cover with the words "President, in June, Mourinho or we"
"President, in June, Mourinho or we" MARCA cover

The lie is precisely what led the Real Madrid president to make a special appearance before the press: “I hear everything. Like with Falcao, that I’m going to sign this player, that others are leaving, that we want to give a raise to someone else, but today I only want to take about one thing, and that is that a Madrid newspaper has published a lie on their front page that intends to destabilize the club. I want to publically denounce this report and it’s serious enough for me to be here. I was taught that you journalists have a code which is to check your information. Why didn’t anyone call us? I know that my getting involved is rough but when the line is crossed and someone tries to destabilize the team…then I have to be here”.

Florentino Perez also explained that he has not spoken with Mourinho about the situation yet because everything happened so quickly: “I haven’t spoken with Mourinho. When I saw the news this morning it seemed so serious to me that someone could play with an institution like Real Madrid. But this isn’t an everyday thing. I know that there’s an element of entertainment in sports. When the line is crossed and someone tries to destabilize the club with lies I will be here defending this institution because I’m the president and it’s my job to defend the club. I’m here before you today in behalf of the players as well”. Although it wasn’t the topic of the day Perez also took the time to speak about injured goalkeeper Casillas: “I truly feel bad about his injury and we’ll have a chance to speak about it on another occasion”.

In reference to the same matter, the captains of the team, Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, released a statement on the official website, giving their support to the coach. The official communication was as goes:

"Due to current reports in the media Real Madrid’s captains would like to communicate the following:

  1. That in the meeting held on Tuesday with the club’s President and Director General there was no ultimatum from us regarding our coach.
  2. As squad captains and members of an excellent group of people and professionals we categorically reject the use of our names or any of the rest of our squad in support of any such information that we label in its entirety as false.
  3. We want to show our support for our coach, Jose Mourinho, for whom we have the greatest respect.
  4. Finally, we wish to convey to all Real Madrid club members and followers our unwavering conviction that only through the unity of everyone connected with Real Madrid will we overcome, as always, all of the challenges that we face each season.
Hala Madrid!"

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