Florentino Pérez, Joan Laporta, Javier Tebas and Villarreal
It’s no surprise that Real Madrid are against LaLiga’s proposed deal with CVC Capital Partners, which many clubs see as manna from heaven. Just as I do, Madrid president Florentino Pérez comes from a time when Los Blancos were Spanish football’s chief international brand. That was the status quo for many years, not least during Pérez’s first spell as club president, when he oversaw his ‘galáctico’ revolution. Since then, however, Madrid have had competition from Barcelona and the Spanish national team as sporting brands, and from LaLiga as a commercial brand. So Pérez is always suspicious about anything LaLiga president Javier Tebas wants to do, and this was never going to be any exception. The only thing Pérez is interested in is taking his club into the European Super League.
Barcelona chief Joan Laporta’s attitude is harder to pin down. You’d expect him to align himself with Pérez, and he may well think Barça are big fish in a small LaLiga pond and that the Super League has to be their aim. Yet he hasn’t been as steadfast as his Madrid counterpart. When it comes to the Super League, a New York Times report has revealed that Laporta warned Tebas about what was coming. That in turn allowed Aleksander Ceferin to find out about it, enabling the UEFA president to prepare his strategy. As for the CVC project, Laporta was told about it, gave his thumbs up to it and saw it as a way to push through Messi’s extension. Then, after his lunch with Pérez and his Barça CEO at the Botafumeiro, he changed his tune and showed Messi the door.
Assuming there isn’t intentional duplicity at play, Laporta is acting very indecisively - the worst thing a leader can do. Either way, Barça and Madrid are now side by side in their battle against the CVC deal, with moral support from Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales, who is always in the opposite corner to Tebas. I’m curious to find out how many clubs they’ll persuade to vote against the agreement and walk away from the immediate cash injection that was coming their way. What with one thing and another, Spanish football has become a ground on which battles are constantly waged at the slightest invitation, and that’s hard to watch. A Villarreal victory in last night’s UEFA Super Cup would have done us so much good! And boy did they deserve to lift the trophy!
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