Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid and the European Super League, went on Spanish TV on Monday night to discuss the 12 teams’ plans for the breakaway league.
The 74-year-old was asked about the possibility of Real Madrid signing Kylian Mbappe and whether Sergio Ramos will renew his contract.
These were the ten messages from Florentino Perez on Monday’s edition of El Chiringuito.
Football “is dead” if it doesn’t change
The European Super League president kept emphasising how much money clubs had lost over the last two years and how a change is necessary now, not in 2024, which is when UEFA plan to implement changes in the Champions League.
“One of the things we are doing this for is to save football, to save football in general,” Florentino Perez said.
“We will try to start as soon as possible. We are going to talk to UEFA and FIFA; I don’t know why they would be angry.
“When I say save football, I mean save everyone. They have presented a format that nobody understands, and they say they are going to start in 2024… in 2024 we are dead.
“There are clubs that have lost hundreds of millions. Between all of us we have lost five billion [euros]. Madrid, in just two seasons, 400 [million euros]. That the new format starts in 2024 is absurd.”
The European Super League will be “open”
Florentino Perez denied that the European Super League will be closed off, despite the fact that 15 of the 20 clubs will be exempt from relegation.
“I don’t know why it has been said that it is a closed league; that’s what those who must not be very noble say, because football should belong to everyone,” he said.
The Real Madrid president also made reference to competitions outside of the European Super League and whether it can coexist with the Champions League.
“Of course they have to continue or make a second league or something,” Florentino Perez noted.
“There are countries that want to join: the Benelux, the Scandinavian league… the clubs want to change because in the situation we are in, we are dead. There are a lot of teams that have to play; they have to make a second league.”
Matches with little interest at present
Florentino Perez insists that there are matches at present that people have little to no interest in, but he believes that would change with the introduction of the European Super League.
“Football at the moment has become less attractive to young people and we want to develop a competition to get them off their tablets,” he explained.
“They have other platforms, but football should be entertaining. The better the games, the more entertaining it will be.
“The Champions League is attractive from the quarter-finals onwards; we have to play against modest teams [in the group stages] that are not attractive. There are matches of poor quality.
“Barcelona vs Manchester [United] is more entertaining than Manchester [United] against a lesser team in the Champions League.
“What does the whole world demand? We have fans all over the world. That’s what makes money, other competitions don’t make money.”
Big clubs “lose” money these days
One point that Florentino Perez made that reference to was the way in which money is distributed more fairly, which he does not think should be happening.
“It can’t be the case that in the Spanish league most of the modest clubs earn money and Barcelona lose it,” he stated.
“We are in a strange moment and it can’t be the case. It can’t be that in England these six teams lose money and the other 14 make money. When we say solidarity, we really mean it.”
Getting young people interested again
The European Super League president insists that young people are becoming less interested in football and that reforms are urgently needed.
“Football has to evolve, like companies, people, mentalities… it has to change and adapt to the times we live in,” Florentino Perez commented.
“Football was losing interest; you can see that the audiences are falling and the rights are decreasing and something had to be done. We are all in ruins.
“Young people are no longer interested in football, and why’s that? Because there are many matches of poor quality and they are not interested; they have other platforms to distract them.
“Football at the moment has become less attractive to young people and we want to develop a competition to get them off the tablet. They have other platforms, but football should be entertaining. The better the matches, the more entertaining it will be.
“The youngsters say that games are too long for them. Madrid have been playing since 1902, look how long it’s been. Sometimes we don’t understand our grandchildren or politicians, they are new generations and we have to make an effort to understand them.
“If the youngsters say that the match is too long or that it’s not a good match or that it needs to be shortened, I don’t know.”
Laporta and Barcelona
Florentino Perez discussed Real Madrid‘s arch-rivals, Barcelona, who he said are in a difficult economic position and need the European Super League to alleviate some of their problems.
In addition, he also made reference to Joan Laporta, who he said did not need much convincing about the European Super League project.
“I didn’t find it hard to convince Laporta because when you talk to responsible people there’s no way around it,” Florentino Perez said.
“Barcelona are going through a bad situation [economically] and he knows that this is the future of Barcelona. Economically this saves everyone, it saves football.
“Tomorrow Laporta will come out and we are going to explain this competition that wants to save football and save the smaller teams, because otherwise football will disappear.”
Referees and VAR
How will referees be selected in the new European Super League?
“We will try to select the best ones with professional criteria,” Florentino Perez responded.
“VAR and referees will be improved, and there will be financial fair play and stability for the clubs.”
Players might not be able to represent national teams
There has been the threat issued by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin that players who play in the European Super League will be unable to represent their national teams at tournaments, but Florentino Perez is not too worried about this.
“We have to change many things, we have too many matches,” he stated.
“There are national team matches that people don’t even know how to win, and that’s the truth. Playing with club players doesn’t make much sense. We have to change.”
Florentino Perez was not only asked about the European Super League, as he was also made to give his thoughts on Kylian Mbappe, who Real Madrid have been strongly linked with.
“I wear the incognito mask and they tell me, ‘Sign Mbappe!’ I say, ‘calm down’. The truth is that he’s a good player, we’re not going to fool ourselves,” Florentino Perez noted.
“Madrid need a change from time to time, we have won a lot, things have happened and we have to move and recover the excitement – that’s what I’m working on.
“I do everything I can so that Madrid does not lose its rightful place. This year we had to bring in 900 million [euros] and we are going to bring in 600 million [euros]. But Madrid was also in ruins when I arrived in 2000.”
Sergio Ramos’ renewal
The Real Madrid president refused to state whether Sergio Ramos will renew or not, too.
“We are in a very bad situation, nobody is putting up the money and we have to be realistic; we are all in a very bad [economic] situation,” Florentino Perez explained.
“I haven’t said that he won’t continue. At the moment we’re looking at how we’ll manage the end of this year and then we’ll see about next year.”
Finally, Florentino Perez was asked if Ramos had taken a 10 percent pay cut.
“Last year, yes,” he responded.