REAL MADRID

Florentino quit with Madrid trailing Barca by 10 points; now that gap is 12 points

The Real Madrid president stepped down a decade ago when the Galáctico project began to fall apart. This season’s side are only three points better off than that 2005-06 team.

To mark the ten-year anniversary of Florentino Pérez’s resignation on Saturday, Atlético laid siege to the Bernabéu for a third straight time in La Liga (0-1), an unprecedented feat in the history of the Madrid derby. The defeat leaves Real Madrid on 54 points, just three more than the 2005-06 Galáctico team, a star-studded side that, at the time, was trailing Barcelona by nine points and for whom the rot had already set in. But Barca beat Sevilla yesterday to extend their lead over Los Blancos to an insurmountable 12 points. When Florentino called it quits a decade ago after losing to Mallorca 2-1 (“I spoiled the players”, he declared to the press), Madrid were ten points behind top spot (where the Catalans sat with 58 points).

The atmosphere around the Bernabéu is beginning to mirror that of the 2005-06 season. Back then, the fans turned on the president and forced him to step down. This season the supporters expressed their discontent with the club’s chief executive following the humiliating spectacle that was November’s Clásico (0-4). The white hankies were out in force and accompanied by chants of “Florentino dimisión!” (“Florentino resign”). Those chants were heard again on Saturday.

The low return of titles during Florentino’s current tenure is also very similar to that of his last. During his first spell in charge, Real Madrid only won three trophies from a possible 18 (Del Bosque stirring the team to two La Liga titles and a Champions League) despite spending 422 million euros on signings. Since returning to office in 2009 the team have won four from a possible 18 (one La Liga title, one Champions League and two Copa del Rey titles), albeit after footing a 800 million euro bill on new players