European Super League: This is not dead – Perez continues defence of breakaway plan

By Sports Desk April 21, 2021

Florentino Perez continued his staunch defence of the European Super League on Wednesday, despite the proposed breakaway competition having crumbled before it started.

Real Madrid president Perez had been appointed as the chairman of the competition, which was announced with 12 founding teams and to widespread criticism on Sunday.

Perez spoke on Monday about a need to change football, with clubs struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, while he also cited a lack of interest in the game from younger generations.

Yet his words did little to appease the furore and, on Tuesday, the six English clubs involved in the competition all pulled out amid pressure from the Premier League, Football Association (FA), UEFA and the UK government.

The owners of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City all offered apologies to their fans for their part in the plans. 

Atletico Madrid, Inter, Milan and Juventus subsequently pulled out on Wednesday, albeit Perez has claimed the latter two remain committed.

Yet Perez insists he will not let the proposals die, and is adamant that there must be drastic reform to football, maintaining the European Super League was put together as a plan to save the game.

Speaking on the El Laguaro radio show following Madrid's win over Cadiz, Perez said: "We were working last night until late. We have been working many years on this project. We have not explained it very well, perhaps.

"They have not given us a chance either. Some do not want anything to happen. It cannot be that in England, the six lose money, and 14 make money. In Spain the top three lose money, and the others make money. It cannot continue – at the moment the rich are those who are losing money.

"I am a bit sad, disappointed. We have been working three years on this project, on fighting the current financial situation in Spanish football. You cannot touch LaLiga, so you look for more money midweek and the Champions League format is obsolete.

"I have never seen aggression greater on the part of the president of UEFA, it was orchestrated, it surprised us all. Insults and threats, as if we had killed football. 

"We are just working on saving football. We have worked very hard on something that would satisfy everyone.

"There was a campaign, totally manipulated, that we were going to finish the national leagues. That we were ending football, it was terrible. But we were working for football to survive.

"If you think the Super League is dead, you're absolutely wrong."

Perez was also bullish in the face of UEFA and FIFA's condemnation.

"Reality is reality. Look at the TV records, and how many people watch big games, and how many people watch the other games. We have to be real," he said.

"That new Champions League format in 2024 has no meaning. No one can understand it. We need a new format to create more money. Young fans don't watch football, they have other hobbies.

"I talk to [Joan] Laporta, Barcelona are still with us. Juventus did not leave. I'm not scared of FIFA or UEFA."

Concluding, Perez also stated that no club would be able to afford major signings at the end of the season.

"It's impossible to make signings like [Kylian] Mbappe and [Erling] Haaland without the Super League," he said. "Not just for us, there will be no big signings, for any club, without the Super League.

"When I took over, Madrid could not pay its players. We changed the world with the Galactico signings. Now after COVID-19, things have to change again."

Related items

  • Manchester United v Liverpool on schedule despite fresh fans protests Manchester United v Liverpool on schedule despite fresh fans protests

    Manchester United's rescheduled Premier League clash with Liverpool is set to go ahead on time after renewed fan protests were effectively controlled.

    The sides' original meeting on Sunday, May 2 was called off after supporters broke into Old Trafford and stormed the pitch as part of protests against United's ownership.

    Several police officers were injured during the ensuing clashes, which forced the postponement of the game on safety grounds.

    However, the rearranged fixture looks likely to go ahead after United, along with local police, took steps to prepare for fresh protests taking place on Thursday evening.

    Barriers were erected around Old Trafford to prevent fans from entering, while the United players arrived individually by car earlier in the day before taking a pre-match nap at the stadium.

    Liverpool, meanwhile, sent a decoy coach that was momentarily blocked by a group of fans, but ultimately arrived at a side of the ground clear of supporters and without issue.

    As such, it is currently expected that the game will kick off on time (8.15pm GMT).

    United's American owners have been the target of renewed ire from fans in the aftermath of failed plans to join a breakaway Super League alongside the Premier League's 'big six'.

    Consequently, United legend Roy Keane does not expect supporter anger at the Glazers to subside any time soon.

    He told Sky Sports: "Manchester United fans are not done with this, we saw some protests a few weeks ago, but I think there is still a lot to come. 

    "The concern is that when the fans can come back to the stadium, you could have 70,000 fans showing up at Old Trafford, frustrated with what happened. Things can get much worse."

    Keane's former United team-mate, Gary Neville, believes the ongoing protests are serving to damage the club's brand, which in turn should hurt the Glazers.

    He said: "Let's be clear, what we’ve seen on that forecourt before which is effectively Man United turned into a prison, it’s a devastating image for the Manchester United Football Club brand around the world, let's just note that. 

    "You have to put prison walls up around your ground and have hundreds and hundreds of police officers on a game where fans aren't attending, there is something that has gone badly wrong."

  • Guardiola thanks Liverpool boss Klopp for title text: He made me a better manager Guardiola thanks Liverpool boss Klopp for title text: He made me a better manager

    Pep Guardiola thanked Jurgen Klopp for his Premier League title text message after Manchester City succeeded Liverpool as champions, saying the Reds boss has pushed him to a new level.

    Klopp described rival Guardiola as "the best manager in the world" in a news conference on Wednesday, the day after City secured a third title in four seasons.

    The text from Klopp to Guardiola was not the only one sent from Merseyside, with Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti also sending his congratulations. 

    "I received a lot. He and Carlo Ancelotti have done it," said Guardiola.

    "I appreciate it a lot from both of them. I could not answer messages, not yet, but I will do it today."

    Speaking on Thursday, Guardiola offered a salute to the Liverpool and Everton bosses, both of whom have won Champions League and domestic titles in storied careers.

    The rise of Klopp has forced Guardiola to pull out all the stops to deliver success both at City and previously at Bayern Munich, when Klopp's Borussia Dortmund were such a force.

    "It was an inspiration for me. He has made me through his teams at Dortmund and Liverpool a better manager," Guardiola said.

    "I would say thank you so much, I appreciate it a lot from him and Carlo."

    Guardiola and City may have wrapped up the club's fifth title in 10 years, but they can still secure a host of achievements before turning their focus to the May 29 Champions League final against Chelsea.

    They head to Newcastle United on Friday evening in the Premier League, and a win at St James' Park would be a 12th successive away victory for City. That would break the all-time record for the top four tiers in English football. Chelsea achieved 11 in a row in 2008 and City did so in 2017 before repeating that on their current unbroken streak of away-day successes.

    City are also one short of matching the record for clean sheets achieved away from home across all competitions by a top-flight team in a single season. They have racked up 16 shut-outs so far, one short of the record jointly held by Liverpool (1975-76), Chelsea (2003-04) and Manchester United (2008-09).

    Their away form has been something remarkable, with City undefeated in their most recent 22 games on the road.

    That is already the longest such run by an English top-flight team, but City would also surpass the record for the top four tiers of the English game should they avoid defeat on Tyneside.

    Notts County also went 22 games unbeaten away from home between February and December 2012 while in League One.

  • Guardiola sorry for Gundogan as UEFA moves Champions League final to Porto Guardiola sorry for Gundogan as UEFA moves Champions League final to Porto

    Pep Guardiola wanted Manchester City to play the Champions League final in Istanbul for Ilkay Gundogan's sake but said the move to Porto was not a problem for the club.

    City manager Guardiola has led the team to a first final in Europe's premier club competition, and they will face Chelsea on May 29 for the trophy they crave.

    UEFA declared on Thursday that the game would move to Portugal, in the wake of Turkey being added to a travel 'red list' by the UK government due to COVID-19 concerns.

    With UK tourists set to be allowed to visit Portugal from May 17, without the need to quarantine at any stage of their journey, it means supporters will be able to take up the allocation of 6,000 tickets per club.

    "If UEFA decides that, we are going to go there," Guardiola said.

    "I had a pleasure to go to Istanbul, because since my career as a football player with Barcelona, I never had the opportunity again to go there. Not even ever in the Champions League."

    City midfielder Gundogan is a Germany international but his parents are Turkish, and he has strong affection for the country.

    "For Gundogan, for Ilkay, I wanted to go there," Guardiola added. "Unfortunately, UEFA decided to go to Portugal. No problem."

    Guardiola will hope Kevin De Bruyne is ready to play in the Champions League final, but the Belgian playmaker will miss Friday's Premier League game at Newcastle United due to a muscle injury.

    "He is still injured but he's getting better," Guardiola said in a news conference on Thursday.

    "When he is fit, he will come to training and the guys who are completely fit with 100 per cent mentally and physicality will have a chance to play in the final.

    "Before that we have three games to get information about how the team is and the players to play in the last game of the season."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.