How did you manage Porto's interest in Casillas?
The idea of joining a team which had qualified for this year’s Champions League was appealing. We did study a few offers from the Premier League but none of them really interested Iker too much. Then Porto appeared. He wanted somewhere near, a good city and Porto fitted the bill. The economic issues were resolved in two trips. They didn’t believe that Iker would opt for Porto while he had other options.
In the second send-off last Monday, Florentino said that Casillas wanted to leave.
And you believe him? He has never wanted to leave. He said that he never wanted to leave and that he could never ask to be Madrid’s first choice goalkeeper, that he had two years left on his contract and that he would have liked to end his playing career at Madrid. He was happy and Madrid is his home but they didn’t want him... Three weeks ago Benítez came along and the club started going crazy about signing De Gea and said what a great goalkeeper Keylor is. That was a lack of respect towards Iker. He couldn’t ignore it. There is a before and an after to all of this. Benítez’s not to blame, it was all orchestrated.
That was ‘his master’s voice’?
Yes, everything that comes into Madrid has to obey his master’s voice. From the moment the second legislature was passed it’s been that way. There is a before and an after with Florentino. In 2000, he stopped asking for advice and appointed Valdano, who knows a lot about football. That worked out well. When he resigned in 2006 he said he was leaving because he couldn’t cope with the squad. In 2009 he returned and he is constantly attacking the dressing room and that’s the problem. He doesn’t like the players being the centre of it all. All that he dominates is for money and to keep people in their place. And he’s wrong about that because the dressing room should be a sanctuary, a safe haven. Madrid is a lot bigger and lot more important than Florentino Pérez. He thinks of himself as Madrid’s god but he only causes unrest. Those long-distance tours... it’s madness, they really take it out of the players... Before, nobody spoke out of courtesy and education and now no one speaks out because he’s made them slaves.
How many truths did Florentino say last Monday?
He hasn’t uttered one single truth in years. What he says is his truth, and that is the same as preaching. He kicked out the best people he has ever known. Everyone must realize that. It all turned ugly for Hierro, Raúl, Del Bosque… There’s something not right about that. It’s as though everyone at this club is wrong and he never is. Madrid was always characterized as being a club which was owned by its club members but he has turned it into a serfdom. Those statutes he put in so that he can perpetually be president.... He’s set it all up so that the others are slaves and cannot act as the club members. They have to shut up and pay up.
Will Florentino pay a price for how the whole Casillas episode was played out?
Absolutely. Florentino will eventually have to leave Madrid as a result of the Casillas saga. I don’t know when that will happen but it will. One day he will also need to explain why Cristiano works for another company outside of Real Madrid. Imagine Cristiano generating 40 million euros elsewhere and giving it to Peter Lim, Valencia’s owner. It ends up in Valencia’s coffers and that’s deplorable. Then there is Real Madrid City; there is no coaching staff. They’ve brought inVíctor Fernández as Director of Sport and an assistant who left Barça two months ago (Narcís Julià). They criticize Barça and now they’ve hired the head of their youth programme. Will anyone speak out and ask Florentino why Cristiano has sold his image rights to Peter Lim? That’s not normal; it suggests that Cristiano is planning to leave.
Do some players get treated differently?
Yes, his players. The squad knows who they are and so does the coach. The only clash he had with Ancelotti was over Bale. He thinks that Bale is the best in the world. He doesn’t know how to take care of the Ballon d’Or winner which he already has in the squad. Bale is going to play wherever he likes. Another is Benzema. He got rid of Higuaín, Di María, Del Bosque... none of whom were that bad, Del Bosque has won everything there is to win but what happened to him is what happened to me – he’s a not exactly a looker. So Florentino brought in a handsome bloke (Queiroz) who almost ruined the team.
Why did your relationship with Florentino end?
For Makelele, for a lack of respect. Florentino doesn’t like black players; he’s not a racist but he doesn’t like them. I also fought with him over Eto’o. Samuel was just as much a galáctico as Figo. He left for the colour of his skin.