Perez denies James deal agenda, defends Real Madrid summer exits
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has dismissed claims that he had hidden personal motives for buying Colombia star James Rodriguez in the summer, while admitting that the sales of Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso were not done for solely footballing reasons.
Spanish media outlets including Mundo Deportivo have pointed out the timing involved with Madrid spending 80 million euros on Colombia's standout player of the World Cup, around the same time as Florentino's construction company ACS agreed a 692 million-euro deal to build its first motorway in the South American country.
Speaking at an event held to set the agenda ahead of Sunday's club annual general meeting (AGM), the former politician said those who drew that comparison shared a view with the hardcore 'Ultras Sur' supporters, whom he has banned from the Bernabeu.
"Thirty-five percent of ACS' business is in Australia and there is no Australian in the squad," Perez said. "This is information put forward by the thugs [Ultras Sur]. While I am president, the thugs and delinquents are not going to return. Many are not socios and what they want is to dominate Madrid as happens in France and Italy."
Perez, 67, said the chants from supporters inside the stadium during last Saturday's 2-1 'derbi' defeat to Atletico Madrid only strengthened his resolve to stay in the job.
"The more they call on you to resign, the more motivated you are to continue," he said. "I will stay on here. What most feeds that motivation are those who want to take over the club and who try to intimidate me."
The Blancos chief said that Di Maria had been sold to Manchester United as the player and club could not agree terms on a new contract, while Alonso's exit to Bayern Munich was due to the player's own express wishes.
"Di Maria has left because we could not reach an agreement," Perez said. "It seems those who leave are always 'the best,' and whoever comes in is questioned. Xabi Alonso asked us urgently to leave. The players who left went for institutional reasons, because the interests of the players were not the same as those of the club."
Asked specifically whether James suits the 4-3-3 shape favoured by coach Carlo Ancelotti as well as Di Maria did, Perez appeared to not think the question entirely relevant.
"I do not know how James plays," he said. "But he had a great World Cup and we wanted him here."
Perez said that a plan to sell partial-naming rights to fund a 250 million-euro redevelopment of the Bernabeu was continuing, despite the project being beset by legal challenges.
"Without a sponsor the work on the stadium is impossible," he said. "[We want] someone who will pay top dollar, but respect the word 'Bernabeu'. The works will begin soon, next summer."
A new plan to reduce the number of youth teams Madrid runs was also under consideration, Perez revealed.
"The objective is to reduce the teams in the 'cantera,'" he said. "We are looking into Castilla and Madrid C being merged, to reduce the youth teams by one."