Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has refused to back down in his defence of the disastrous European Super League and insists that anyone who thinks the project is dead is “completely wrong”.
Perez, who is also the president of the Super League, has come out swinging just 24 hours after the controversial project collapsed, which saw the Premier League’s “Big Six” withdraw from £4,6 billion scheme on Tuesday evening.
In an interview with El Larguero’s Manu Carreno, Perez claimed a smear campaign was created to oppose the Super League after fierce backlash across Europe, saying claims that said the midweek competition would get rid of domestic leagues were not true.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola reacted after the official collapse of the proposed European Super League.
Perez also doubled down on suggestions that the 12 founding members of the project have not left yet given that they have signed a legally “binding contract”, while suggesting several English teams could still feature in the competition.
“I am a bit sad, disappointed,” he started. “We have been working three years on this project, on fighting the current financial situation in Spanish football. It is easy to understand – you cannot touch La Liga, so you look for more money midweek.
“The leagues are sacred. What we can change is the midweek games. The Champions League is obsolete — it’s only interesting from the quarter-finals onwards.
“Among the 12 teams we lost €650 million last season. This season two or three more times. This format clearly does not work.”
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Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham all performed dramatic U-turns on the project and pulled out of the Super League as a result of fan protests, which was sparked by hundreds of Blues fans celebrating outside the gates of Stamford Bridge before and during their 0-0 draw with Brighton.
With fans blocking the entrance to the stadium for the team buses, the extraordinary scenes saw club legend Petr Cech come out to confront the fans and plead with them to let the teams in.
When confronted by the fan protest in west London, Perez bizarrely claimed that Chelsea fans were “taken” to Stamford Bridge to protest to Super League, which helped spark a chain reaction in the English clubs dropping out.
He said: “Who brought those Chelsea fans to protest? There were only 40 Chelsea fans, and I could tell who brought them … just like here someone gave Cadiz jerseys (against Super League).”
Once City and Chelsea began to file their withdrawal from the project, Perez claims it acted like a domino effect among the English clubs and that it was “contagious”.
“They started a campaign, which was totally manipulated, that we were going to terminate domestic leagues. That we were ending football, it was terrible,” Perez added.
“There was someone in the English clubs who did not have much interest. That started to affect the others. There was fear. One of the English clubs was never really convinced.
“The English clubs tried to do something, but they were being told they were killing football. But there is no other solution than the Super League. Or somebody invents something else.”
Perez’s bizarre interview also saw him say: “Bayern Munich and PSG’s entry into the Super League was never guaranteed, even if I wanted them to be included.”
That comment came just two days after he claimed the German and French champions hadn’t even been invited.
Amid his ramblings, there was no sign of an apology from the Real president and claimed he felt like he was accused of dropping a “nuclear bomb” given the severity of the backlash.
“Uefa put on a show, that I was completely surprised by,” he added. “As if we’d dropped a nuclear bomb. What did we do wrong? Maybe we presented it badly, but why didn’t they let us talk about it.
“It isn’t fair that in England, six are losing and 14 winning, that big clubs in Spain are losing money and the small clubs are earning money. Football is a pyramid. If there is money at the top, then the money flows down and everyone gets some.
“At the top [of tennis, [Roger] Federer has to play against [Rafael] Nadal. People don’t go to see Nadal against the 80th in the world.”
He added: “I have never seen aggression like it, from the president of Uefa and the domestic leagues. It seemed orchestrated. Insults, threats, like we killed football. We were trying to save football.
“In general, there will not be big transfers this summer. When money does not flow from the rich clubs to the poor clubs, everyone suffers.
“It’s impossible to make signings like [Kylian] Mbappe and [Erling] Haaland, in general, not just for Real Madrid, without the Super League.”
Despite the European Super League now looking dead in the water, Perez believes it can still happen, and that several of the continent’s biggest clubs can still involved.
“Juventus and Milan have not left,” he added. “Barcelona are thinking about it. Maybe we can change it a bit — that the top four in England enter, the top four in Spain.
“The important thing is that the big teams play each other, so the kids will watch football.
“The founder clubs believed in this project. It is not dead. We will keep working.”— Daily Mail