Florentino Pérez: 'Real Madrid has an enormous gigantic legion of fans spread out all over the world'

'This is Real Madrid, the club with 25 European Cups. The best club in the world and the best club in history', said the club president at the opening of the 2023 Ordinary General Assembly.

Florentino Pérez: 'Real Madrid has an enormous gigantic legion of fans spread out all over the world'

Florentino Pérez opened the 2023 General Assembly of Representative Members, which was held both in person and online at the Real Madrid City basketball pavilion. The Real Madrid president began by paying tribute to Amancio, the directors Fernando Fernández-Tapias, Raúl Ronda Ortiz and the madridistas who passed away last season: “We must remember all the madridistas who have left us. We bid our last farewell to our beloved honorary president, Amancio Amaro. He was a true example of the values of this club and one of the great legends of Real Madrid and world football. He defended our shirt for 14 seasons, winning 9 league titles and 3 Copa de España trophies.”

“I would also like to pay a very special tribute to our first vice-president Fernando Fernández-Tapias, who left us just a few days ago. We were close friends and he served with me on all the Real Madrid boards of directors that I have had the honour of chairing. As was Raúl Ronda Ortiz. He was also a good friend who accompanied me on all the boards I have chaired. Both were always an example of loyalty and dedication to our club.”

“Being president of Real Madrid is one of the greatest responsibilities I have ever undertaken in my life. And not only because of what the team has been able to achieve on the pitch, where it has amassed the greatest trophy haul in the history of sport, but also because we are true to our values. And that is why we are what we are. Because of the values of this crest, which have been passed down from generation to generation and which are the pillars of our 121 years of history. These values are what unite us to millions of people through the same sentiment which is madridismo: work, continuous self-improvement, sacrifice, humility, camaraderie, fair play, respect and solidarity.”

“The unity of our members is our main strength, which makes us virtually invincible in the face of any challenge. This unity has enabled us to enjoy institutional stability, which has also been fundamental in allowing us to experience one of the most successful cycles in our history. We have won 25 football trophies and 25 basketball trophies in the last 13 seasons. In total, 50 trophies, including 8 European Cups: 5 in football and 3 in basketball. But you know what Real Madrid is. This club always aspires to more.”

Santiago Bernabéu
“We are on the verge of seeing one of our great dreams come to fruition: the transformation of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. And the first thing I want to point out is that we should place due importance on what we have been able to do together. This has been possible thanks to the understanding of all of you, the members and fans of Real Madrid, who have come to support our team notwithstanding the natural inconvenience of a project of this magnitude, the largest building project and one of the most complex being built in Europe.”

“The transformation of the Bernabéu will mark a before and after for Real Madrid. And we have also done this in the midst of a socio-economic backdrop of enormous complexity. In the midst of a pandemic and with the consequences of a war such as the one in Ukraine, which has upset many forecasts, from the increase in the cost of materials to the extension of the execution time of the works. But we are now in the last phase, which we embrace with great joy and with the certainty that this Bernabéu stadium will make us much stronger.” 

Sporting project
“Every year, our football and basketball teams have enjoyed one of the most successful cycles in our club's history. In football, these are the three trophies won last season: The fifth Uefa Super Cup won in Helsinki, the eighth Club World Cup won in Rabat and the 20th Copa del Rey won in Seville.”

“This team will never lose its hunger for winning because it is full of extraordinary talent. A team under the leadership of Carlo Ancelotti, who is one of the most successful coaches in world football, and who, besides his trophies and everything he has achieved on the pitch, represents the values of Real Madrid in an exemplary manner. We should be happy because we have a squad that is the product of the planning and strategy that we have applied for many years now, and with which Real Madrid has enjoyed a lot of success.”

“And just a few days ago we announced contract extensions for players like Vinicius, Rodrygo, Camavinga and Valverde. They are essential to Real Madrid's future. I would like to say a few words of support and encouragement to Courtois and Militão, two of our most cherished footballers, who have both sustained injuries, the worst thing in football. Two of the best players in the world to whom we want to extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery.”

Women’s football
“Our women's football team continues to progress in these first three years of life. We are proud of the huge steps that have been taken under the guidance of our coach Alberto Toril. I would like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate the Spanish national team who delighted us all with their triumph at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.”

Youth academy
“Our youth academy is the best in the world. This was recently reflected in the CIES Football Observatory, in which we lead the ranking of the youth academies that contribute the most players to the five major leagues. Currently 44 players brought up at Real Madrid City play in the main leagues of European football. Twelve of our teams won the league title and eight of them managed to finish their domestic competitions undefeated.”

“Here is the eleventh European Cup. Real Madrid has once again made history and delighted all madridistas and also all lovers of this sport. Because what we experienced last season in the EuroLeague we won in Kaunas is the best example of this club's DNA. These players were once again the heroes of unbelievable comebacks. Again they represented the values of our club and, more than anything else, they gave everything they had to prove once again that, with this crest and with this shirt, no player ever gives up.”

Financial situation
“Despite our stadium not yet being at full capacity for the 2022-2023 season, the club has achieved revenues this season of €843 million, which represents an increase of 16% over the previous season, reaching an after-tax profit of €12 million.”

Real Madrid Foundation
“We are a club with a strong social commitment. The Real Madrid Foundation stands as a symbol of solidarity. 26 years helping the most vulnerable in our society, especially children at risk of social exclusion. As I always say, it is the soul of Real Madrid.”

Crisis in European football
“Football is experiencing an unprecedented institutional crisis. At all levels, both in Spain and in Europe. The main problem is that there are a series of stakeholders who act without thinking about the fans. And we are going to continue working to ensure that football can once again inspire the greatest number of fans all over the world.”

“European football does not belong to the president of UEFA. Spanish football does not belong to the president of La Liga. Football is no one's monopoly, because football belongs to everyone. The goal of the Super League is very clear: to deliver the best possible club competition. The rules of financial fair play must be enforced once and for all. To achieve this, we need transparent and modern corporate governance structures that are up to the standards of the 21st century and subject to the principles and laws of the European Union.”

The Super League
“The Super League project has been subject to constant disinformation and manipulation campaigns during this time. They have even claimed that we want to leave the national leagues and everyone knows that this is false, because it would be a competition that is perfectly compatible with the national competitions and their calendars. The sole and main objective of the Super League is to improve, modernise and strengthen the European competitions and, naturally, without privileges and without anyone being excluded, because it will be a fully meritocratic competition.”

“This season will be the last of the current Champions League model. A new European tournament that nobody quite understands and with no home and away matches. An unusual, absurd project that makes no football sense. This proposed new format is best suited to the political system of governance at the top of UEFA, and to the balances of power on which their re-election as directors depends. The current system of governance belongs to another era. It does not take into account the demands of the fans and footballers, nor the needs of the clubs, who are the ones who risk their assets.”

“UEFA continues to run competitions in the same way as it did 30 years ago. With no innovation, no modernisation, no transparency, no bringing the competition closer to the fans. We have seen many examples where large corporations that seemed invincible in their sectors went bankrupt because they did not know how to modernise and adapt to the times. We therefore hope that 21 December, when we learn of the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union on this case, will mark the beginning of a new era for the good of football.”

Spanish football
“In Spain, the football situation is even more worrying. I will not say much at this time about the Spanish football federation, as it is undergoing a process of regeneration. There are many issues of particular relevance that depend directly on the Spanish football federation. Such sensitive and important issues as the quality of refereeing and the implementation of the VAR, a technological instrument that was created to improve football and that today is being called into question due to the management and use made by those in charge of it.”

“The issue that should concern us most and for which we have to take very decisive measures is the repeated actions of LaLiga against the interests of Real Madrid. These actions pursue a single objective: to attack the financial assets of our club. First, they tried to expropriate 11% of our audiovisual rights income for 50 years, in other words, for half a century. And then, they tried to modify the Sports Law with the aim of appropriating our commercial rights. LaLiga's deal with CVC is a scourge for Spanish football. For this reason, we trust that, given its irregularities, it will be permanently annulled by the Spanish courts.”

'We cannot allow our heritage to be taken away from us because our present and our future depend on it. And they do this because they really think that if they take it away from us, it does not affect you personally. Because they believe that when they say that the club belongs to the members, they say it from a romantic, sentimental and sporting point of view, but never from a financial point of view.”

Organisational structure to protect Real Madrid
'Some days ago, Forbes announced that Real Madrid is the most valuable football club in the world, with a valuation of more than €6 billion. And I personally believe it is worth much more.' 

'Measures need to be taken so that both Real Madrid as an institution and the members as owners have the necessary ability to protect our club legally and financially. I will continue to work in the coming months to provide you with an organisational structure that will protect Real Madrid as never before. A structure that protects and safeguards the economic assets owned by Real Madrid and by each of our members. A structure that will also allow us to defend ourselves personally against any threat of expropriation.'
Negreira Case
“I would like to conclude my speech with a necessary reference to the Negreira case. It will be brief, because it is a matter that is in the hands of the courts. You will agree with me that it is not normal for a football club to have paid almost €8 million, for almost 20 years, to the vice-president and number two of the Spanish referees. This is an extremely serious case and is severely damaging the image of Spanish football in the world. But we have full confidence in the justice system.”

Universal sociological Madridismo
“Please allow me to reflect on this new concept that we have been hearing of late: the so-called sociological madridismo. I would like to specify that the correct thing to say would be the existence of a universal sociological madridismo. Because this universal madridismo exists, have no doubt about it. Real Madrid is the only club in the world, in any sport, with more than 500 million registered followers on social media. A huge contingent of fans in every country in the world.'

'There is universal sociological madridismo to such an extent that it was the only founding club of FIFA on 21 May 1904, and it was also the only club to promote the establishment of the European Cup at that historic meeting in Paris on 3 April 1955. Real Madrid was recognised by FIFA as the Best Club of the 20th Century.'

'The universal sociological madridismo exists because our club is the most followed, the most admired and the most loved in the world. This is the result of our uncompromising values: excellence, commitment, winning spirit, team philosophy, respect, solidarity, humility and universality.'

'The universal sociological madridismo exists because of the energy and talent of Bernabéu and it exists because of such great legends as Di Stéfano, Puskas, Gento, Kopa, Santamaría, who together with other legendary figures won the club's first five European Cups consecutively. All of them also won the respect, affection and admiration of the world. This is how we have achieved 14 European Cups, a sporting legacy that today seems unattainable for any other club.'
The club with the 25 European Cups
'All of this, at all times with the respect that the white shirt of Real Madrid deserves, built on hard work, effort, a winning spirit, fair play and humility. A Real Madrid without frontiers that embraces the hearts of people in every corner of the world, regardless of their origin, background, ethnicity, language, religion, ideology or culture.'
'This is universal sociological madridismo. A phenomenon deserving of study and very difficult for any other club to achieve. This is Real Madrid, the club with 25 European Cups: 14 in football and 11 in basketball. The best club in the world and the greatest club in history.'