Copa del Rey semi-final is special for the city of Madrid, says...

Copa del Rey semi-final is special for the city of Madrid, says Florentino Perez

Florentino Perez, Real Madrid president

Florentino Perez has said the Copa del Rey semi-final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid will be a special occasion for everyone in the Spanish capital.

Speaking at an event with his counterpart Enrique Cerezo to celebrate the upcoming fixtures at the Santiago Bernabeu and Vicente Calderon, Perez said that despite a deep rivalry, the two clubs are also great friends. He also spoke about football’s power to unite people supporting different teams.

“We all know that football has a great ability to seduce us and to generate excitement. Furthermore, both Atlético Madrid and ourselves know that football exists to bring people together, not to separate them. This is another semi-final between the two teams from Madrid. We will have a very difficult opponent, because Atlético are having a great season,” he said.

Perez added: “We are playing a club who are our friends, even though we have a great rivalry. Tomorrow, Madrid will be the winner, because tomorrow is a special day for football.”

Tributes were also made to former Spain boss Luis Aragones, who died at the weekend. The man who guided his nation to glory at Euro 2008 was an Atletico man through and through, and Perez was glowing in his praise for Aragones.

His words were also echoed by Ana Botella, the city mayor, who said: “I would like to give my condolences to the family of Luis Aragonés. Luis was a reference point. The wise man from Hortaleza. I am convinced that there could be no better homage than the semi-final which starts tomorrow. We are all very sad that this bad news has come too soon.”