Thursday 27 October 2016

Off The Ball: Folly of Florentino exposed yet again by Barca's brilliance

Joe Molloy

Published 25/11/2015 | 02:30

Perez's popularity is dwindling (Stock Photo)
Perez's popularity is dwindling (Stock Photo)

There are lots of reasons why Florentino Perez is bad for football and bad for Real Madrid. Infamous for his pursuit of the doomed Galactico policy, the Real Madrid president was the target for much of the fans' ire on Saturday at the Bernabeau.

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They perhaps recognise a pattern which goes beyond the faults or failings of Rafa Benitez, who is after all, just another manager. As in 2006, when he resigned as president, Perez's popularity is dwindling. In his initial stint at the club, there was something magnetic and awesome about his vision and the execution. Each summer, the football elite helplessly watched the sparkly unveilings of Luis Figo in 2000, Zinedine Zidane in 2001, and Ronaldo (Brazilian, not Cristiano) in 2002.

Some of the football was beautiful. There was success too. The model perhaps reached its zenith as the ball hung in the air above Zidane's left boot at Hampden Park in the Champions League final of '02. Eventually a tipping point was reached, because the philosophy was so absurdly one-dimensional.

The Claude Makelele departure in 2003 sent alarm bells ringing. Makelele, with the support of his Galactico team-mates, asked Perez for improved terms. He was being paid a fraction of the big boys. Perez refused and Makelele left to win league titles for Jose Mourinho in London.

To quote Perez: "We will not miss Makelele. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and 90pc of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways."

The predictably awful response was to buy David Beckham. As Zidane later said of the swap, "Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the engine?" European and domestic success halted, Perez resigned, only to reappear three years later and the spending began again. Kaka was the first galactico of the second Perez era.

Saturday night once again demonstrated the folly of wild, fanciful spending in the face of a concrete football philosophy. Maybe even Madrid fans are starting to revolt against the root cause.

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