Florentino Pérez is considering legal action against Spanish online media outlet El Confidencial following the publication of audio tapes dating from 2006 in which the Real Madrid president attacks senior players and club legends Iker Casillas and Raúl González, who is currently in charge of Madrid’s reserve side, Castilla. Casillas, who left the club in acrimonious circumstances, has since returned as executive vice-president of the Real Madrid Foundation.
Pérez issued a statement on Tuesday after the tapes came to light, stating his belief that their publication is far from a coincidence and an attempt to undermine his credibility in the aftermath of the failed attempt to launch a breakaway European Super League of the continent’s richest clubs, of which he was installed as president.
Pérez has staged a counter-attack against El Confidencial by stating the recordings were illegally obtained by journalist José Antonio Abellán and he has referred the matter to his lawyers.
Pérez lays into Casillas and Raúl
On the tapes, recorded in 2006 shortly after Pérez had resigned as club president, the construction magnate is heard talking about both Casillas and Raúl, who were still playing at the Bernabéu with the latter serving as club captain.
“He’s not a Real Madrid goalkeeper, what can I say? He never has been. He has been our biggest mistake. The problem is everyone loves him, I don’t know. He has so many people on his side. But anyway, he is one of the biggest scams. The second is Raúl. The two big scams at Madrid are Casillas and Raúl,” Pérez is heard saying.
“Raúl is terrible, he thinks that Madrid belongs to him”
“Raúl is terrible, he thinks that Madrid belongs to him and he uses all of Madrid’s resources, all of the development he has had, for his own benefit,” Pérez continues. “Him and his agent. The reason that Madrid are playing badly… look, I’ve put a lot of things aside for him. Because he has said, as everyone thinks he’s finished, ‘before I’m finished, I’m going to finish with Madrid.’ He’s a negative guy, he’s destroying Madrid and the morale of the players so that people say: ‘It’s Madrid who are playing badly, not Raúl.’ It’s terrible what a bad kid he is. He’s not going to play for Madrid anymore. And if he’s not playing, I think it’s better that he goes. If he stays here and doesn’t play, he’ll become a martyr.”
Beckham, Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo
Pérez also discussed other players from the Galáctico era and their relative values to the club in terms of marketing. “Beckham’s a good lad. He’s sharp as a tack, he’s got balls. And he should be clever. The two who earned the most were Beckham and Ronaldo [Nazario]. They made €30m a year, altogether. After them, Zidane, who made €25m. Then nobody. Because Figo had a watch in Portugal and something to with a bank, I don’t know, he didn’t have anything. Everything the rest of them had we had to find for them. We set up the [deal with] Audi to give Raúl and Figo something. If not, they wouldn’t have had anything. Raúl didn’t’ sell anything, he’s not a media-friendly product.”
Casillas and the Clásico
Pérez also went on to discuss Casillas again and claimed he had been late for training before a title-deciding Clásico against Barcelona. “He’s like a little kid, like a lapdog, a monkey, a kid’s toy. People don’t know it but I have a very good relationship with him. People think I like him a lot. The thing is I think that if he had given more of himself he’d be the number one for sure, because he has all the qualities even if he’s a few centimetres too short. But I’ll tell you about the game when we were playing Barcelona, that one we won 4-2, remember? Well, he turned up late for training on the Friday. Those that applaud him for everything he does… and it was in the Bernabéu as well. He was unlucky that I was there.
“Everybody loves Casillas. It’s amazing. But still, that’s football. Me, well. Casillas isn’t tall enough and I don’t think he’s got good eyesight. I told Ginés [Carvajal, Casillas’ agent]. ‘Take him to an optician.’ I don’t think he can see properly because everyone shoots at him from distance. And it’s the same with corners. I told him: ‘This guy doesn’t seem to see too well from far away.’ I swear I told him that, for his good and for everyone else’s.’”
Florentino Pérez’s statement in full
Following the article published by El Confidencial that features comments that I have been credited as having made, I believe that it is important to clarify that:
– The published quotes were part of conversations secretly recorded by Mr José Antonio Abellán, who has been trying to sell the recordings for many years without any success. I find it surprising that they have been published today by El Confidencial, despite the time that has elapsed.
– They are isolated quotes that were part of conversations and have been taken out of the wider context in which they were made.
– I understand that the fact that they have been published now, so many years on from the time the conversations took place, owes to my involvement as one of the driving forces behind the Super League.
– I have placed the matter in the hands of my lawyers, who are examining the course of action to be taken.
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