I see a Florentino Perez a lot these days. Not in person, as he has long denied me the gift of a greeting, but on the news. Now I know what Real Madrid TV is for: to cast Florentino onto the daily news programmes. Real Madrid TV is the station which films the team’s every minute, and then supplies those images to the other broadcasters. And always a constant presence these days is Florentino, the superior being, whether he is seeing the team off before flying to Miami, or signing autographs for fans situated in the front row at training sessions, or popping up to meet NBA giant Serge Ibaka with the rest of the team.
It doesn’t surprise me. With Zidane and Ronaldo gone, and Sergio Ramos taking his vacation so seriously (it is worth mentioning that Manchester United already had several Spanish World Cup returnees on the pitch against Real Madrid), someone close to Florentino, or perhaps Florentino himself, has decided that he is the most dazzling presence that remains. There are no new marquee signings. And now, on top of that, the Modric-Inter issue has arisen – a further setback during a summer that Real Madrid expected to be quiet.
And tonight we have the game in Maryland against Juve. Nobody is surprised that Cristiano won’t be there. It will be an “experimental” Juve side, as is Madrid, in which Bale serves as the Galactico guardian and Vinicius as the bright young starlet who everyone can’t wait to watch again. But the fans want a centre forward that can score goals and that doesn’t appear on the horizon. Meanwhile at Barcelona, president Josep Bartomeu has satisfied Valverde’s demands by allowing him to sign Chilean Arturo Vidal – a force of nature who comes with a level of anti-Madridism already well bred in.