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By ESPN Staff
Jun 24, 2003

Perez defends Del Bosque sacking

MADRID, June 24 (Reuters) - Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has accepted that the decision to replace coach Vicente del Bosque was a risk but says the move is in the best interests of the club.

News that Del Bosque would be leaving Real after more than 30 years as a player and coach brought an angry reaction from some fans.

The walls at the club's Santiago Bernabeu stadium were daubed with graffiti on Tuesday as supporters expressed their feelings about Del Bosque's departure.

'Time will tell if we're right or wrong,' Perez said at a news conference at the Bernabeu. 'Like all decisions there is an element of risk but we believe this is the start of a new era and we need someone new.'

Real decided not to renew the contracts of Del Bosque and captain Fernando Hierro after a six-hour board meeting on Monday.

The announcement came less than 24 hours after the club had won a 29th league title, the seventh trophy of Del Bosque's four-season reign.

Perez said the club could not afford to take the 'easy' decision to renew Del Bosque's contract for one more season.

'Politically speaking, it would have been easy to give Del Bosque a one-year extension but that wouldn't have been the right choice,' Perez said.

'We had to decide whether to give him a new long-term deal or take the riskier option that we eventually decided on.

'It was important to take the decision with a cool head. Of course, we may have made a mistake but we believe what we've done is for the good of Real Madrid.'

The front runner for the vacant post is Carlos Queiroz, the number two to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Real Madrid have already signed David Beckham from United and the appointment of Queiroz would ease the England captain's transition.