REAL MADID | RAMÓN CALDERÓN

"Real Madrid's coffers are empty, they have bills of €1,000M"

Ex-president Ramón Calderón spoke about the club's financial situation: "Real Madrid is the only major European club that hasn't signed anyone this year".

Former Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón believes that the institution is now paying the price for the "ridiculous way they sold Cristiano Ronaldo" and that the club have no means to rebuild the squad as the coffers are empty. "It's not just that the coffers are empty, they also have outstanding bills totalling approximately 1,000 million euros", Calderón explained, while defending Zinedine Zidane and Josep Maria Bartomeu. "Since Cristiano was stupidly sold, they it was clear that the team needed reinforcements in that position and in others but the sad reality is that the club's accounts are not only bare but are also full of bills to the tune of around 1000 million - bills that have to be paid," Calderón told reporters at the annual Desafío Nácex paddle tennis tournament between ex-players from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético.

The former president added that Real Madrid "is the only major European club who did not sign a player last summer - and they will end up paying for that". He continued, "What happened against Shakhtar and Cádiz left a very bad taste but we have to be optimistic because this team have been through difficult moments before and managed to come through them although obviously, the sensations aren't good".

He feels that Zidane is not to blame in any way for Madrid's present predicament. "He's doing what he can with the resources available to him," he said. "The Shakhtar performance wasn't good, there were a lot of mistakes, I'm sure in the line-up too, but you cannot pin the blame on one person, it's an accumulation of circumstances, a chain of events which have led to this. It was lunacy to sell Cristiano when they don't have anyone to score goals".

It would be wrong to sack Zidane

However Calderón admitted that he wouldn't be keen to see Raúl González take over the reins of the team. "I have a great fondness for him and admired him hugely as a player, coach and person, but giving him the job would mean sacking a coach, who can make mistakes and surely has made mistakes - but who also won three Champions League on the trot". After defending Zidane, he returned to attack the board and current president, Florentino Pérez. "The statutes have been modified to stop most people from putting themselves forward in the elections, the way the Assembly is organised through power together with manipulation and control of the press, it is practically impossible for anyone to oppose how the club is being run," he said.

But the ex-president defended under-fire Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu. "I've said in the past that I don't think it's fair to assess a president for a bad result or for a specific moment the club is going through; I think you have to look over the whole of their mandate," he argued, adding, "Bartomeu has been president for seven years and during that time, the club has won 12 or 13 trophies, including the Champions League. It seem unfair to me, and particularly as I myself had the experience of being there and it is a difficult role to take on".