As news of Real Madrid’s transfer ban broke on Thursday, the club released a statement denying any wrongdoing over the signing over youth players from overseas.
However, whether they eventually manage to overturn it or not, this ugly episode is another embarrassment in a long line of them in recent months that have me reaching the conclusion that time is up for president Florentino Perez. He should resign.
He may be a hugely successful businessman and administrator but Perez has stayed too long at this point and is running out of people to blame for every disaster. The start of his decline happened in the summer when he fired popular Italian boss Carlo Ancleotti. Fans and players were upset and the president couldn’t explain it himself. When asked by journalists what the reasons were for firing the man who led the club to the 10th Champions League crown, Perez looked at the ground awkwardly and said “I don’t know.”
His appointment of Rafa Benitez was doomed from the start. Although Benitez knew the club from his days as a youth team boss, it was never a popular decision to bring him in. Madridistas want to see free flowing football and Benitez never fitted the bill while he prefers a more defensive approach. His suffocating man-management and tactics angered many of the players, particularly attack minded one such as James Rodriguez who felt shackled under the regime. That Benitez was sacked seven months into the campaign was no surprise.
Perez didn’t come out looking too clever when the club sold Iker Casillas. The shot-stopper had given 25 years service to the club and not one director bothered to turn up to his final press conference. As outrage ensued, Perez hastily arranged a farewell with the fans the next day that amounted to nothing more but an awkward photo session between him and Casillas.
There have been plenty of other embarrassments. A club of Real’s size should not be dilly dallying over major signings. They had identified David de Gea as the man to come in to replace Iker Casillas last summer. The player wanted to move. They had the money to pay Manchester United. It should have been straightforward.
Instead, Real got into a transfer stand off with the Old Trafford club and there was the embarrassing revelation that the deal collapsed on the final day of the transfer window because of the late arrival of paperwork. In the aftermath, Perez blamed United for being amateur in their dealings. And even the fax machine was at fault too.
Then there was the Copa del Rey debacle in November. Denis Cheryshev played and scored against Cadiz when he should have been serving a one-match ban. Predictably, and understandably, Real were thrown out of the Copa for breaching competition rules. Perez didn’t look at himself and his management of the club. This time it was Villarreal’s fault – the club where Cheryshev was on loan last season when he picked up his three yellow cards – for not informing Real. The Spanish FA too should have informed Real, according to Perez.
And now we have the transfer ban, which again has nothing to do with Perez. Fans have lost patience with the president who was once much-admired. No longer do Madridistas believe him and his conspiracy theories.
Real have the chance to get their house in order now that their playing squad will be settled for the next 18 months. It’s time for a change at the top. It’s time for Perez to resign.