Florentino: 'Cristiano wanted to go; we got the most we could'
Real Madrid presdident Florentino Pérez justified the 100-million-euro sale of Ronaldo and discussed the new stadium in a meeting with club members.
On Thursday evening in the Spanish capital, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez met to discuss likely topics for the upcoming Ordinary and Extraordinary Meetings where he hopes to get approval for the 525-million-euro loan for the renovation of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. As well as that, focus was also drawn to the summer sale of talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
On the stadium development
"We have to make a decision on the work, by the end of the year, and on the financing issue. The estimated time of the development is three and a half years, which will be compatible with the sporting calendar. The capacity will not increase, although there will only be 800 new spaces for people with disabilities."
Following a previous meeting, there had been an anticipation that the number of VIP seats would grow, something that this time has been denied.
On the stadium cost
Florentino explained that the total cost of the work would be about 525 million euros:
"It is 300 [€m] in construction, more than 100 in technological equipment and the rest for improvements to the interior and the surrounding area."
This is clearly much higher than the 400 million euros announced a few years ago for the plans, which had then stung stakeholders who saw it as a new roof but no extra seating. The president responded to this:
"In 2014, when we thought there would be no problems with the specific plan, we announced that it would cost 400 million euros. The new structure, including the removal of the two towers on the Castellana, has increased the cost but will improve the urban environment..."
On no stadium sponsor
In 2014, the work was to be financed via a 20-year sponsorship contract signed with IPIC. However, the investment fund withdrew because they were not happy with the proposed project. On the withdrawal of IPIC, Pérez said:
"We don't believe that they can do that and it has been reported to the International Court of Arbitration Paris."
And with regards to a new name being found for the stadium through sponsorship, the president denied it, without closing the door completely:
"We are not contemplating it. I don't know in the future, if circumstances change and we cannot compete with other clubs whose owners are countries. At the moment no, with our solvency, we do not have to resort to that."
On loan agreement
The main issue of the Extraordinary Meeting will be the request for permission to the delegates allowing the club to get into debt of up to 575 million euros, something that has already raised doubts among members. Florentino explained that the plan is to ask for a loan (leaving the 190 million that sits in the treasury) "for 25-30 years, with a fixed interest of between 2.5% and 3%," that would mean the club repay around 20-24 million euros each year.
"Today financing is cheaper. It would cost us 3-3.5% of last season's revenues per year."
The fear from several partners is that Madrid takes on more debt than it can handle. The response was clear:
"The net worth is 500 million but the club is worth 4,000 million. We've been offered more than 4,000 million to sell, and after the development, they will offer 8,000 million."
On the sale of Cristiano
The departure of the Portuguese star during the summer received plenty of attention, and Florentino was asked why Ronaldo was sold to Juventus for 100 million euros when his release clause was 1,000 million:
"The release clauses are not there to be paid. If there has to be sale, it is negotiated. We did not want to sell him, but he wanted to go for personal reasons and we understood that, for all the good things he had done, we had to open the door for him. We got the highest value we could."
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