More importantly, it crushed almost any outlet for criticism. It was useful, for example, to read the accounts in a lot of the news media in Madrid about the Mbappe deal. Rather than defeat for Real Madrid, Mbappe’s decision was portrayed as that of a mercenary and traitor, a renegade who gave his word to Perez and then betrayed him.
Mbappe’s family was so alarmed by this portrayal that his mother moved to publicly correct it, confirming on Twitter that her son had “never given his word” to Real Madrid.
And his selection of “El Chiringuito” on his debut to discuss the Premier League was also no accident. The program regularly shows prominent Real Madrid supporters Journalists who have been known to break down in tears over the club’s successes, or attack those – Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard – who are believed to have disgraced the club.
The show is not, at that, external. Perez oversees a vast network of obedient news media, which not only depends on his agility and access to information, but is also subject to the sheer scope and weight of his business interests. Perez has always claimed that he is strong only because he is the president of Real Madrid, but this is not entirely true. It’s powerful in many other ways, too.
This has allowed him to run Real Madrid as he sees fit. Despite its size, the club’s hierarchy is relatively narrow, with Pérez overseeing many hiring decisions; its CEO, Jose Angel Sanchez; and Chief Scout Johnny Calafat. In this sense, Real Madrid is an outlier, almost a throwback, in an era when most of its peers have diversified and deepened their squad.
Perez, of course, would argue that he is successful: five Champions League finals in nine years are all the evidence he needs. This is perhaps his greatest gift. No matter what he does, however unlikely he may seem, Perez has an incredible ability to emerge victorious.
Perhaps this was the year that destabilized the kingdom he had so painstakingly built. It may, instead, be the year that cemented it forever.
“Food lover. Unapologetic alcohol guru. Passionate internet geek. Hardcore analyst. Gamer.”