It has been a summer of significant change at Real Madrid with both Sergio Ramos and Zinedine Zidane departing the club, yet with the dust having barely settled from the European Super League debacle, Florentino Perez is looking to avoid further controversy, claiming he hasn’t read Zizou’s farewell letter, even going as far as saying he doesn’t believe the Frenchman wrote it.
Carlo Ancelotti has since been rehired by Perez, with the Italian starting work on rebuilding a team that failed to win a single trophy in the 2020/21 season.
“I know him [Zidane] and it has been a hard year, I fought for him to stay,” Perez told Onda Cero’s Transistor programme.
“I have not read the farewell letter, I swear on my grandchildren. The person who wrote that letter was not Zidane.
“I wish him well, he has been a legend for Real Madrid and he has all of our recognition, he has the dream of being the French coach and I’m sure he will achieve it.”
Ramos’ protracted exit from Los Merengues was a long-standing source of frustration for supporters, especially those who felt he should have retired with the club he has captained so well, yet Perez believes every effort was made to re-sign the defender.
“I love Ramos like a son, I brought him here in 2005 and I’ve never before been to a press conference with a player,” he added.
“I have such admiration for him, he has been a legend and we wanted him to stay, we offered him a contract, he had a deadline but didn’t make it clear.
“This is his home and he will return for sure in another role.”
Perez’s involvement with the failed Super League project brought much derision from English audiences, although the feeling in parts of Spain has been rather different, and the Los Blancos president remains convinced he was saving football.
“I want to be judged as president of Real Madrid, football, in general, needs me,” he continued.
“UEFA should worry about creating a more attractive competition.
“Football is dying, it doesn’t attract young people, the audiences are going down and if nothing is done, the situation will be very bad.”
Real Madrid expect to return to their home stadium in time for the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander season after over a year of construction work, and whilst the bulk of the upgrades have been completed, Perez refused to rule out a further spell away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
“It’s been a great project, I can’t wait for people to see it, it will be ready by the end of next year,” he detailed.
“The work has been planned so it can be carried out whilst we maintain holding matches with crowds at the same time.
“We will see if we have to ask LaLiga to play the first two matches away from home, Enrique Cerezo [Atletico Madrid president] hasn’t spoken to me, but I’m sure he’d be delighted if we needed to play at the Wanda Metropolitano, but that’s not our plan.”