Florentino Pérez Speaks Exclusively To Marca

Kevork Djansezian

"Ronaldo stays!"

And Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't only stay. "He's on a par with Di Stéfano" said the president.

The answer to another question, needlessly provocative as it happens, ("As long as Barça has Messi, Real has to have Ronaldo come what may. They are the two standard bearers of modern football and Real can't lose its figurehead") didn't really point to an immediate new deal for the player. It seems an appeal for calm. The remaining length on Ronaldo's contract was mentioned, for example. Pérez seemed to be confident of a deal in either case:

Real Madrid doesn't want Ronaldo just because Barça has Messi. We want him for the duration because he is the best player in the world, Messi or no Messi. And what's more we have him. He has two years left on his contract. Anyone would think he was leaving tomorrow. What we would like is for him to stay even longer. The future of our project revolves around him. Teams always depend largely on one great player. At one time it was Di Stéfano, later on it was Zidane. Now it is clear the focus is on Ronaldo. There is nothing better than having the best player in the world in your team. We believe Ronaldo will go down in the club's history as being on a par with Di Stéfano.

On a related note: Ronaldo, if the rumours are true, has worried about institutional support from the club. To be likened to greats like Di Stéfano and Zidane is not only just, it signals Pérez has understood the need for that support.

In response to another question:

I am going to be as clear as possible. My aim, Cristiano's aim, and the aim of all Real Madrid fans is that he carries on playing here for many years to come. And when so many people want the same thing then it usually turns out to be the case.

The president is, of course, fresh off a victory in an election that didn't actually take place because no one could challenge him. The rules for length of membership and (most importantly) for personal wealth were too stringent.

Is this Pérez's final term? The answer was noncommittal. Asked about players he wished he had signed over his tenure, Pérez mentioned Ronaldinho, among others.

Finally, the president was as courteous as always when asked about Neymar. Labeling him one of the greats and noting, briefly, "I hope he does well here."

The interview in English (Marca's own rendering) can be found at the link.

And in Spanish, the longer interview can be found here.

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