Florentino Perez, what have you done to Real Madrid?

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, Florentino Perez (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, Florentino Perez (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Prior to the year 2018, Florentino Pérez had a near-flawless legacy as president of Real Madrid. He had solved their economic issues, rebuilt them as a juggernaut, and oversaw a golden era of titles. However, since the summer of 2018, that reputation has drastically changed.

The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo was a very tough one for fans to accept. The Portuguese legend was at the forefront of Madrid’s success on the field, the hero everybody relied upon. After some behind-the-scenes disputes surrounding his contract and feeling underappreciated, he departed. Fans were rightfully furious that the club had allowed a seemingly preventable situation to occur.

With Ronaldo gone and his demands being ignored, Zinedine Zidane soon followed Ronaldo out of the exit door. In a matter of no time, Real had seen two of their biggest stars leave and the need for a rebuild only growing by the day.

With a huge summer needed, fans expected to see Real break open the war-chest and make the market their own. However, what actually occurred would only become the norm for most of the coming seasons.

Through both the summer and winter window of the 2018/19 campaign, Real largely underwhelmed in the market. Mariano Diaz took the iconic number 7 jersey on his return, an unknown Vinicius Jr entered the fold, Thibaut Courtois, Brahim Diaz, and Odriozola also all joined the club.

Whilst Vinicius and Courtois have since become two important players, this was far from the rebuild that the club needed. It showed as the season progressed, Real were abysmal for much of the 18/19 campaign, embarrassed in Europe, thrashed and battered in the league – in short, they were a quickly sinking ship.

The football being played was poor, the morale was flat – except for the sustained brilliance of Benzema and flashes of potential from Vinicius Jr, the season was over long before it even began. The board went through two coaches, a means of masking over the issues they had created.

Ajax, Real Madrid (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
Ajax, Real Madrid (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images) /

Zinedine Zidan immediately led Real Madrid to a league title with a much-improved defense

Following the disaster of an 18/19 campaign, action was needed. Zidane returned to the club in its hour of need, bringing in a few changes in a fully supported summer transfer – finally, it looked as if Pérez and the board had awoken. The feeling of total mediocrity looked to have lit a fire under the club, a big window of expenditures was provided – this was the Pérez of old, but there were still issues.

Over the course of the 19/20 campaign, Real were still overly reliant on Benzema to score goals – as Jovic struggled to fit in. The Serbian was certainly not afforded much in the way of opportunities, something Zidane has and should be criticised for. Eden Hazard never got going for a variety of reasons, in a nutshell, Real were much the same with the addition of Ferland Mendy to shore up the backline.

One aspect that Zidane certainly did not get enough credit for was his fixing of Real’s defence. In the 17/18 campaign, Real conceded more goals than 11th placed Espanyol. During Zidane’s first full season back of his return, they had the best backline in the league.

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid have massively failed to rebuilt their attack

Despite delivering the LaLiga trophy, it was very much clear Real still needed options. Headed into the 20/21 season, there was no investment – which was perplexing to Madrid fans the world over. The club may have just lifted a league title, but that came through Zidane’s tweaks and working with the resources he had.

The club did have the likes of Martin Ødegaard returning to the club, on the back of his successful loan spell, although his return did not hit the heights expected. Criticism should be given to Zidane in part for not controlling his options to the fullest, but Florentino also let him down.

For a club to go through three windows with no major business, to allow for your attack to be on the shoulders of one man with no adequate support – this was and continues to be unacceptable. How can a boardroom look at a club expected to challenge on all fronts, and think it is ok for your second-highest scorer to be your central defensive midfielder?

How on earth can it be seen as acceptable that your top 5 goal scorers of the last 3 seasons only consist of 2 forwards? One of whom is still just 20 years of age. Why did the club decide to ignore Zidane’s advice to keep Borja Mayoral, who has scored consistently for Roma on loan, but kept hold of Mariano Díaz?

Florentino Perez’s legacy is no longer untouchable

These were just the continued issues of a now-three-year period of questionable decision making. Florentino’s plan, or lack thereof, has hindered and is continuing to hinder Real’s progress. Zidane this season battled to the best of his ability with a thin squad, his reward? Receiving no backing for the forthcoming season.

Zidane, seemingly exhausted from the season, has now walked away from the club after seeing he will not get the needed pieces to continue competing. The backup plan? There does not seem to be one. They failed to convince their main target in Allegri, Pochettino is now not available.

Even with coaches who are available, like Antonio Conte, the club seems to be stuck in a never-ending negotiation cycle. Now, the club is in the middle of a transition, the futures of big names are uncertain and there seems to be no convincing project for a coach to sign up for.

Next. The 5 players Real Madrid should have never sold. dark

Florentino Pérez once had an untouchable legacy at Real Madrid, but his recent years have been marred by complacency, mistakes, poor planning, and greed. Imagine the mindset of the players, midseason competing for titles, when Pérez decided to open a war with UEFA – how distracting must that have been?

A man the fans once saw as the Don, the man that could do no wrong, seems to continually be doing it wrong. Too often in the recent past, you ask yourself ‘Florentino, what have you done?’ but perhaps more worryingly, the uncertain answer to the question of ‘Florentino, what will you do?’