Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was announced as the President of the European Super League, and he gave a lengthy interview to El Chiringuito last night regarding the Super League frenzy.
The Reason Behind the Arrival of the League
“The big clubs of England, Spain and Italy have to find a solution to tackle the bad situation that football is experiencing. We’ve come to the conclusion that by replacing Champions League with the Super League, we’ll be able to alleviate the lost income due to the pandemic.
“You have to make profitable income by producing more competitive games. When you have no income other than the broadcasting rights, you come up with a solution of producing more attractive games that enable fans from all over the world to watch the big clubs play against each other.”
“16-24 year old fans aren’t interested in football. 40% of young people aren’t interested in football, because there are too many games of low quality. It’s in all the statistics and the studies. Teenagers are more interested in playing video games than in football these days, and we have to do something to bring them back. We had to adapt. The same thing happened in the 50’s, UEFA and FIFA were opposed to Bernabéu and the European Cup.”
“No one has interest in the Champions League until the quarter-finals. What generates the most interest? Let the greats play. We’re doing our best for the sport. The Champions League has lost its attraction, we have created the Super League to save football. We have to change something to make this sport more attractive at a global level. That is what we did with Bernabeu.”
“The television rights are what make us money. That money is for everyone. If those at the top have money, it goes to everyone because we buy players from those other clubs and we can be in solidarity.”
On the Threats From UEFA
“Players excluded from International matches or tournaments? That’s not going to happen. I want to assure every football player out there, they cannot stop you from playing with your National team. Threats from UEFA president? (Smirks) So be it. Real Madrid will not be banned from the Champions League. I guarantee it 100%, no one can take us out of the Champions League. UEFA has prepared the new format of UCL for 2024. In 2024, we will be dead. We’re not UEFA’s property, they can’t govern us. UEFA’s monopoly is over, a new era is coming.”
“What UEFA’s president did today was unacceptable, disrespecting Agnelli [Juventus Chariman]. UEFA has to change. It’s ridiculous that the UEFA president can allow himself to insult the president of a huge European club. We don’t need these type of people in football. Disrespectful and unacceptable.”
On French and German Clubs Not Being Invited
“We haven’t invited PSG yet for the Super League. Nor we have invited any German clubs. We will not cancel the Super League if PSG and Bayern do not join – that’s nonsense. We have 15 teams and another five teams will enter. It will not be a closed league. The five teams will earn their place every season. Again, I repeat, the Super League is not a closed league. That’s totally false. It’s an open league that any good team can reach, regardless of the name. If you win the UCL, you receive €120 to €130m from UEFA, but with Super League we will earn much more.
“This Super League is not a competition for the rich, it’s a competition of solidarity to save football, by the great and the modest. We want to start as soon as possible, we want to talk to UEFA and FIFA, but they should not get angry – they better know that. The big teams are more attractive, they are the ones who generate the most money. I do not think it’s more attractive to watch unfamiliar teams. We owe this change to the fans. Everything will be improved with the Super League, including VAR and the referees. Without the Super League, football will die before 2024. Big and small clubs will die.”
On Financial Transparency
“We want to start the Super League next season, that’s why we announced. I was chosen as a president because of my experience.”
“I know LeBron James’ salary because it’s public, but I don’t know the UEFA president’s salary. Why? UEFA does not have a good image throughout it’s history, there needs to be transparency. I reduced my salary because of the pandemic, I don’t think the president of the UEFA or La Liga did that. We have problems even with our sponsors. Adidas and Emirates have had difficulties (financially), we also have to be in solidarity with them. There are people who think that nothing has happened since the pandemic. This isn’t a battle for money, this is a battle for football. We’re trying to save football, and some people don’t care because it’s not in their financial interest.
“We will do all of our efforts to try to reach a compromise with FIFA or UEFA. If we can’t reach an agreement, we won’t back down. We will continue working even if it takes more time. We will be able to watch the best games in world football two days of the week. Without compromising the matches of the respective leagues on the weekend.”
On Mbappe: “I go out with a mask, nobody recognizes me and all the sudden I hear, ‘Presi, sign Mbappé!’, I tell them, ‘be calm’. It’s good, why lie? Madrid needs a change. We need to evolve. We have won a lot and we must recover the illusion, the desire to compete.”
On a Ronaldo Return: “Cristiano isn’t returning to Madrid, he gave us a lot but his return makes no sense. I love him, but it doesn’t make sense — he is a Juventus player.”
Salary reductions: “Jović and Ødegaard before leaving, lowered their salaries. Many others too, there are people who are supportive of the club. Ramos agreed to drop 10% last year, this year he is in a different situation. I love Ramos, but we are in a very bad financial situation at Real Madrid. Nobody puts money into this club. Will he leave the club? I didn’t say that – many things can happen. We will think about it at the end of the season.”
Zidane’s future: “Zidane is the best coach we’ve ever had. Will he leave on his own at the end of the season? I don’t know – you never know with Zidane.”
PSG interest in Vinicius JR: “Vinicius is not for sale. No one can buy him, you cannot even touch him”
Mourinho: “Mourinho’s sacking? Mourinho increased our competitiveness. Of the last 11 Champions we reached 9 semi-finals. That gene to compete, I always appreciate it.”
Stadium Renovations: “The new Bernabeu will be ready in the fall of next year.”
Haaland & Raiola Visit: “Haaland’s father visited our museum. It’s crazy, everyone always has the same reaction, they’ve never seen anything like that.”
While it is true that football has been terribly affected financially in the last year or so, it is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic preventing fans from entering stadiums. This is expected to end at some point, despite the loss of millions in the form of matchday revenue.
Additionally, despite the Super League promising big matches, what good will it do by showing an El Clasico every other week? That simply takes away from the excitement of the match, half of which is due to the rarity of the fixture.
The players themselves are against a competition like this, and given that it could completely overwrite the history of European football by replacing the Champions League, the advent of such a League could still spell the end of football as we know it.