Florentino's rows and fall-outs with Real Madrid's captains
The Real Madrid president had his differences with Hierro, Raúl, Casillas and Cristiano. Now Sergio Ramos is the latest to be involved in a heated exchange.
Florentino Pérez's bust-ups with the team's captains are nothing new. As Diario AS reported today, the Real Madrid president was involved in a heated exchange of words with Sergio Ramos in the Bernabéu dressing room following the team's elimination from the Champions League to Ajax. Florentino reprimanded the players for their attitude and the captain responded: "Pay me and I'll go". It wasn't a new situation for Florentino, who has had conflicts with Madrid's captains in previous years - such as Fernando Hierro, Raúl, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo - all of whom ended leaving through the back door...
Cristiano: sold for just 100 million euros
Until this week's bust-up with Ramos, the last captain to have differences with Florentino was Cristiano Ronaldo (438 appearances and 450 goals for Real Madrid). The Portuguese player explained their relationship to France Football in June. "He looked at me as though I was no longer indispensible. I felt that he longer considered me the same as he did at the beginning", Cristiano recalled. Cristiano asked for, and was promised, a pay rise but it never came - Florentino blocked it because he was anxious about how much the Neymar operation would cost, something that also didn't go down well with the Madrid No.7. The club sought an outlet for Cristiano and accepted Juventus' offer of 100 million euros - a cheap price considering he was the actual Ballon d'Or holder and in comparison to what other clubs were paying for players with a lesser name.
Casillas: two tributes to make up for the indifference of the first one
Another captain who left to muted fanfare was Iker Casillas (725 appearances for Real Madrid). He ended up leaving for Porto after several seasons charged with tension following Mourinho's decision to bench him. Iker bid a farewell on 13 July 2015, holding a press conference which was surreal in the complete indifference shown by the club for one of their greatest players. Football fans around the world and the global media were shocked that a club like Real Madrid didn't give Casillas the send-off he deserved - the goalkeeper appeared on his own, without any representative from the club, and broke down in tears in a farewell that was excruciating to watch. His team mates were en route to Australia for the pre-season but Florentino, who was in the capital, did not join Iker and that outraged fans. The following day, all of the trophies Iker had won with Madrid were wheeled out because Madrid decided to do it all over again - but properly this time, with full honours. Florentino showed up although he didn't go out onto the pitch with the keeper. Some fans hadn't forgiven him for his indiscretion and carelessness, shouting "Florentino out!".
Raúl: Club tribute came three years after he'd left
Raúl (741 appearances for Real Madrid) was also practically forgotten by the time he said goodbye on 26 July 2010 after like Iker, a whole lifetime at the club. His tribute at the Bernabéu turned out to be a non-event - only 3,500 fans showed up because the club hadn't given them enough warning. The initial plan was to hold an event behind closed doors but after Diario AS reported Raúl would be saying goodbye, Madrid felt obliged to open the Bernabéu doors to the public. As with Casillas' send-off, Madrid had to organize another one. It came three years later. Florentino thought it would be a good idea for the 2013 Trofeo Bernabéu to be turned into a tribute to Raúl, and invited the eternal captain's club at the time, Al-Sadd as guests. However, when Real Madrid's media department created the poster for the match, there was no mention of Raúl. AS published a piece on 21 August, the eve of the game, to point out that traditionally, tribute matches for former players (there had been 22 up until then) had always been promoted with a poster carrying the image of the player and his name. That prompted Madrid to react - they hurriedly placed a full-page ad in several sports newspapers featuring an image of the striker on his knees with the slogan: Gracias Raúl.