A full breakdown of the interview Florentino Perez gave to Spanish radio station Onda Cera is provided below:
Cristiano wanted a new challenge and took advantage of the UEFA Champions League final to say it. He’s the best player I have ever signed. His nine years in the club have been exemplary and he never created any problems. I have never had any trouble with Cristiano, nor over money, my relationship with him has always been strong. What has been said in the media is not true, Cristiano never asked Real Madrid to pay his tax debt. He was seeking a change and an improved contract. In the end, he found it with Juventus, and ultimately it was good for everyone. These great players sometimes need new challenges, he has found that and a new family in Juventus and he is happy, and if he is happy, we all are. We felt with Asensio, Bale and Vinicius, we had cover.
Did I ever speak to Cristiano again after he left? Intimate conversations, messages, and things of that nature won’t be shared.
I do not think that the problems of Madrid this season have been because we didn’t have a suitable Cristiano replacement. Zidane left because he was exhausted. Which happened to every player this season except Benzema.
For me the king of competitions is the Champions Leage. Zidane was noticing a pressure, a tiring effort, we saw that the players were exhausted and the trainer too. Zidane decided to rest. He called me and told me, he had made up his mind at the time. When Zidane decides one thing it is very difficult to change his mind. He’s been like that since I first signed him as a player. It wasn’t personal. He was determined to leave because he was exhausted, the relationship with him was and is perfect.
Appointing Lopetegui and the aftermath
When Zidane left, Lopetegui was the first choice. There weren’t many free coaches. Klopp had a contract for five years and the other coaches had long contracts. Except Lopetegui. Many times a coach has signed up for a club from the National team and nothing has happened; I don’t know what happened, somebody must have agitated Rubiales. Julen thought it was better to be honest and up front about it by telling everyone before the World Cup started. Even Rubiales at the time thought it was fine. The next day something happened, I don’t know if someone called him or what. I had spoken to him myself and everything was fine before. I still do not know why he changed his mind. Real Madrid paid nothing to the Spanish FA for Lopetegui because they fired him first. We were clear from the start that had he still been in charge during the World Cup that we would pay compensation.
After some time has passed, we have seen that the problem of the team was not fixed with the changes of coaches. We lost several games in a row and it was very difficult, at that time, to understand that this team was not able to be at the level we thought. Our diagnosis is that the pressure to which the team was subjected did not let them performe at their normal levels. Until Di Stefano’s era we never won as much as in these six years. We have concentrated our efforts on the Champions League, and the pressure was very high each year. Lopetegui did what he could, but the problem was not the coach, it was the mind of the players who needed a break. Now we see that they are mentally exhausted and as a consequence of that also physically.
Defending the Current Squad
The world of football is irrational, you have to win always. Some of these players have been insulted, they have been whistled, players who are going to go into the history of the club. Now it seems that winning a UCL is normal, but it isn’t. Have we deceived people? I was not happy about the defeat of Barca vs Liverpool but it shows the value of what we have done these past five years in the Champions League. I feel sad as the players have been whistled and as you, journalists, have insulted them. It’s not normal, we feed into something that’s not right. The players are human, they will be moved into the history of Real Madrid, I find it very unfair the treatment they receive. As Zidane said, ‘It’s not that they don’t want to, they can’t’. They deserve recognition and not jeers.
We have won four out of five UCLs, these players have killed themselves and have done something incredible to get it. They have not lost the dream to win more, is that they are exhausted, we need to think how to get them out of it and we will get out of this. This team, in the last 10 years, has won 17 titles. And during this year of “rest” we were Champions of Europe for over 1500 days, people must not and won’t forget that.
The Sergio Ramos Situation
Sergio Ramos informed me that there was an offer from China and that they could not pay a transfer fee because there is some rule there or something. Nothing more. Ramos has not been to my house, nor I to his. He came to see me at the office and told me they had a very good deal from China. I told him it was impossible for us to let our captain go for free. We spoke cordially. Players come and tell me about offers all the time and normally it’s just to report, I thought the same about the China offer.
Agents use journalists to tell lies. It is not normal for a sports director in a newspaper to say that we deceived Ramos by saying that Bale earns less than what is reported. Right now the highest contract at Real Madrid is that of Sergio Ramos! The highest earner is Ramos. Before it was Cristiano. At the time of the Galacticos they earned more or less the same. We now follow a scale. There has to be equilibrium and everyone must be content in their pay bracket. The one who earns the most is on merit. Ramos deserves it and I’m delighted, he’s the captain, he’s a great player.
He did not ask for a transfer letter of freedom. I told him that this China idea is not possible.
I’ve been here since 2000 and I know all the journalists. Today Atleti journalists defend Sergio Ramos against me. I defend Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos, who I brought here and I love him like a son.
It is not true. I did not hear Sergio Ramos tell me after the Ajax game the quote in the press of ‘Pay me what I am owed and I will leave’. I did not hear any such thing. This meeting with Sergio about China, I have been surprised by how it has been covered because I have not even considered it. Now I’m telling the truth. They told me that offer and I didn’t give it any importance. Many times players tell me their offers and nothing happens. Tell Rene Ramos (Sergio’s brother and agent) to come here to tell you everything. I love Sergio Ramos very much, I have done everything I could for him, I hold him in high-esteem, he has done a lot for this club.
I will not let Sergio Ramos go. We’ll refer anyone else to his clause. As happened with Modric last year. With Ramos I have only talked about the Chinese issue. I told him it’s impossible. Nothing more.”
Zidane’s return and the end of the season
When we saw that we had nothing to play for in the season, we preferred to dedicate the 11 games that were left to prepare for next season after Solari. Zidane came back well rested and with a desire to return things back to normal. Zidane is testing players and from the tranquility we will see if we find the ambition and hunger that we have missed this year.
Thoughts of Resigning?
I never thought of quitting. And when I leave, I’ll leave when the team is doing well, not when it isn’t. We’re going to fix this.”
Mbappe and Neymar
I have not spoken to Zidane on Mbappe or Neymar. We have not spoken to Mbappe nor will we speak. For the players that we are interested in we will talk to their clubs first, not directly with their players. I respect players who are in other clubs. PSG asked us to publicly deny the rumors last summer. If we want a player from PSG we will call their president. I have spoken a thousand times with the president of PSG. I have a very good relationship with all the presidents of the European clubs.
On July 1st we’ll meet with Zidane and see. The problem isn’t just of signings. We will have talks on who to buy & but importantly who to sell. I don’t want to go into a discussion over Mbappe or Hazard. I’m not going to talk because we’re in a moment where they’re still playing, like Saturday’s final.
Bale? He’s on vacation. We have not received any offer by any player of Real Madrid.
Hazard? We have been trying to make Hazard a Real Madrid player for several years. We are working on a project to make people dream again, where we recover our hunger and ambition. I have already lived through this stage before.
I have a dream that Hazard will arrive this year. Let’s make a good team this year. I have a lot of interest in Hazard coming to Madrid. He’s one of the great footballers. Last year we wanted him, but this year he only has one year left on his contract and it is easier.
The whistles and reactions of the fans
Cristiano once said, “why do they whistle?”. We can’t whistle. The players belong to us, there has to be a complicity with them. They’re great professionals and they don’t deserve it. I can’t side with that part of the fan-base that boos it’s own players. People were applauding at Anfield when we beat them 0-3. I envy that kind of atmosphere and that which we have the best.
There are journalists who only go to Madrid in the satisfaction of seeing us lose.
I ask some of our fans not to give us lessons in Real Madrid, not to tell us who we have to sign or who we shouldn’t.
Contract Extensions, James Rumors, Jovic, and Greizmann
The Kroos and Nacho renewals were actually done a year ago, but for some reason we couldn’t make them public at the time until now. Why would I say goodbye to Keylor Navas? He has a contract with us. For winning the Ballon d’Or, Modric earned himself a salary incremental increase and an additional year extension.
James? I’m not going to sign James now, just to sell him more expensive to another club. We won’t be doing trafficking of players. They are human.
Jovic? There are players that we all like. I will always bring the best in the world. Whenever I can. We’re working on making a dream team. People know that I, if I can, will bring the best players in the world.
Griezmann? I have never been offered Griezmann and we have never tried to sign Griezmann.
Martin Odegaard and Youth Transfer Policy
Odegaard came at 16 and now he’s 20. He was among the 2-3 best players in the Dutch league this year. In 2-3 years, he will be one of the stars of Real Madrid!
We have to go for the young players, due to FFP. We have the best in Rodrygo, Vinicius, Brahim. They are the players who will win UCLs in the future.
Carvajal came when he was 10 years old, Varane at 18, Ramos at 19, Marcelo at 18, of those four, three are in the FIFA TOTY. They came young.
Achraf is in BVB, all those loaned out will return and win with us. This is the policy we must adopt - that of young future stars. Look at Messi. Today we have to work with the youngsters, those who are on the outside and see that they can become great. And we could be wrong, but it’s the work that needs to be done.”
European Super League and use of VAR in La Liga
A Super European League is possible.
We have not voted against the new Spanish Supercopa. Real Madrid has not voted against playing the Super Copa outside Spain. It has nothing to do with a league game. Playing league games outside Spain is like prostitution.
I don’t call Rubiales to complain about the refs. I called to ask him about that legit Vinicius penalty. I said, hey, this VAR technology thing, I’m in favor, I’m not complaining about the refs. I called for VAR to be applied better. It’s improved the game so much!”
Stadium renovations and the impact on potential signings
€575m for 30 years to make the stadium. It has no influence on the subject of signings. The stadium will allow us to gain a lot more money in the future.”
Miscommunication between the club and Pochettino
Pochettino said that I had not let them sleep in RM City. That’s not true. He has written a message to Jose Angel Sanchez saying that it was not his intention to provoke all this or offend anyone.
Klopp and Pochettino are phenomenal. I’ve never tried to sign them, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try in the future.
The Media’s Use of Luca Zidane
People use Luca to hurt Zidane, it’s a perverse thing. In the club no one has said that Luca is going to be the second goalkeeper of Real Madrid next year. The media use Zidane’s son against him to hurt Zinedine and the club and it’s a very ugly thing to do.