Florentino Pérez and Ramos trying to call each other's bluff

This week there is no Real Madrid game, but that does not mean that fans have been left without nothing to talk about. 

I think it was in the book Soccenomics (though I'm not going to get up to check now) where I came across the concept of “appropriability” and the analysis of football’s inability to monetize all of the time that we dedicate to it. The game makes money through matches, via tickets sale and television rights, and through shirt sales, etc. But, how can a value be put on the way in which it enlivens our conversations at lunches, in the office or at bus stops?

Ramos-Pérez playing out a poker match at Real Madrid

In the absence of a game this week, we have had the ongoing poker match between Florentino Pérez and Sergio Ramos, with public opinion divided. Florentino maintains that he doesn’t have money to extend Ramos’ contract and keep paying him his current salary, which is the highest amongst the squad. Ramos maintains he is not willing to take a pay cut. Both are holding their cards: with David Alaba and Pau Torres, Florentino has a plan B if Ramos decides to leave. Ramos, meanwhile, has PSG, where he could potentially be with Lionel Messi next season. 

Florentino has delayed things with Ramos for too long, when you compare it to the much-anticipated contract extensions of players like Benzema and Bale (the second of which he will have long regretted). But Sergio Ramos knows that he is 35 years old and there is a financial crisis at the club due to the coronavirus pandemic. May we remind him that he once said “he would play for free” after his ugly attempt to escape to China in 2019.  

Of course, the greatest risk is run by him, because, God forbid, he picked up a bad injury before he has put pen to paper – be it with Madrid or another club – he could be left out of a job. The Florentino-Ramos show has been appreciated in a week without a game, but both a reasonable ending and dignified agreement can be expected.