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Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez To "Socios": "Open Your Eyes!"

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Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez came out swinging today at the annual Real Madrid partner (is this the best word for socio?) meeting. After hearing a few complaints from the assembled socios that tended to center on coach José Mourinho--one even said that, "you can have a tiger as a pet, but you need to keep it chained so that it doesn't eat the neighbor's kid...or even your own child" (legend)--Florentino harshly criticized the dissenting voices:

"We have the best coach in the world," he said. "But some people are being influenced by the media. Open your eyes! Most of your complaints come straight from the sporting press in Barcelona!"

He did more than just attack some of the socios' motives, though, and he did address some of the controversial aspects of Mourinho's tenure (and yeah, by that I mean the finger-eye situation).

"Mourinho's finger in the eye incident was wrong, he knew it, recognized it, and said he was sorry," he continued. "But I haven't heard anyone talk about the provocations. Mourinho is such a strong coach that it would be absurd to even speak about a sporting direction that's stronger than him. We've gone from a lower profile, to a stronger one; this wager has made us more competitive. I'm surprised by the level of identification that Sr. Mourinho has with the club. We can't stand by while they attack us--and for that we thank him."

Wow. What a mouthful. I consider myself a staunch Mourinho supporter--while I'm not a fan of his antics at times, I think that ultimately, he's an incredible leader, a born tactician, and a genius motivator. I like that he's coaching Madrid. But...

I also think that Florentino's rhetoric is very much over the top, in some respects: the quality that Mourinho creates in his players--that us-against-the-world mentality--shouldn't be replicated at an institutional level, because then we stop being able to look inward and self-criticize. Everything we do is immediately amazing, because we're doing it in the service of the club, to fight the outsiders.

If that sounds like the beginnings of fascism, then you've more or less got my point (not to say that we're actually going to have fascism, just that this anti-criticism us-against-the-world mentality is reminiscent of the set of ideas that allowed for fascism to come into existence). It's not healthy for the club.

I'm all for Florentino defending Mourinho, but his statements today seem a bit over the top.

In unrelated news, the socios voted to approve the plan to renovate and expand the Bernabéu to include things like a hotel (what?), and a five-star restaurant. Does anyone else have visions of new Yankee stadium flashing through their heads?

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