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Manuel Redondo, a bronze medal and the Ultras


Yesterday I found a fairly innocuous article on page seven of AS. It was about the presentation of the bronze medal for the Royal Order of Sports Merit to Manuel Redondo, director of the president’s office of Real Madrid. An honour bestowed upon him this summer with various tens of others and presented at a solemn and formal event, to which, as every year in similar conditions, the prize-winners attended, in their respective conditions as gold, silver and bronze winners. Manuel Redondo received it being at Real Madrid. A bronze medal. Why this recognition? Because why not. Exactly that, because why not? Hala Madrid!

Yesterday too I asked the Secretary of State for Sport about this award and he explained that it was given on the proposal of Ana Muñoz, his number two, who had put Redondo forward for his fight against the extremist ultras at the club. Very well. Glory to the wonderful picture of this forward line made up of of Butragueño, Miguel Cardenal, Manuel Redondo, Ana Muñoz and the never surpassed Florentino Perez. Seeing such a strong line-up almost evoked memories of Kopa, Rial, Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento. But I can’t help wondering where those five were when the ultras were not so long ago shouting, ‘Marca and AS to the gas chamber.’ Were their beliefs different back then?

In those days Florentino and Redondo flitted around the director’s box and there was no suggestion that the chants upset them in any way. Then the extremists turned against Florentino when he kicked out Mourinho. And we haven’t again seen those messages, “Mourinho, your finger shows us the way” which once stood out at the Bernabéu. Yesterday, seeing Miguel Cardenal and Ana Muñoz in this mistaken frontline, I wondered if a seat for life in the director’s box at the Bernabéu is enough to make up for so much under-handedness or whether the two of them are applying the old saying: there’s more joy in heaven for one repentant sinner than for a hundred righteous doing their penance.