7 of Florentino Perez’s Best Signings as Real Madrid President

​On 16 July 2000, Florentino Perez was first elected as president of Real Madrid, and the 19 years since have been nothing short of extraordinary.

Barring a brief absence between 2006 and 2009, Perez has been directly or indirectly responsible for some of Real’s greatest moments in history, through the historic signings he has made during his time in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Here are seven of Perez’s best signings since he first took over in 2000.


Luis Figo

Real Madrid's Portuguese Luis Figo (L) c

Who knows where Florentino Perez would be without Luis Figo. Having previously failed to win the presidency of the club, Perez promised he would sign Figo from arch-rivals ​Barcelona if he was elected in 2000. He was, and he did.

​The Portuguese winger’s €62m move to ​Los Blancos is one of the most controversial deals of all time, but it kick-started an incredible successful era for Real.

Figo lifted two ​La Liga titles and also won the ​Champions League in 2002, but it was his Ballon d’Or win in 2000 which really set the stage for Figo – and Perez – to dominate world football.


Zinedine Zidane

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Perez’s policy of one blockbuster season per summer led him to ​Juventus’ Zinedine Zidane in 2001. A world-record €77.5m deal was quickly struck for Zidane to head to Madrid, and the rest is history.

He won the Champions League in his first season at the club with that volley against Bayer Leverkusen​, before adding the La Liga title the following year.

He retired in 2006, before transitioning into management with Los Blancos. With three consecutive Champions League titles between 2015 and 2018, it’s safe to say that Perez’s initial decision to sign Zidane in the first place is still paying off.


Ronaldo

Ronaldo

Perez may have not really been involved in the deal to sign ​Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, but he did get his own Ronaldo seven years earlier.​

The original Ronaldo was already a star by the time he sealed his €46m move from ​Inter to Real in 2002, but Il Fenomeno continued to astound in Madrid. He fired 104 goals in 177 games, leading Real’s scoring charts in each of his four full seasons at the club.

He lifted La Liga trophy twice, before leaving for ​AC Milan in 2007. 


Sergio Ramos

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With Perez focusing on acquiring the world’s top talents, he often forgot to look closer to home. In the 2005 summer transfer window, Perez parted with €27m to sign ​Sergio Ramos from Sevilla, with the defender becoming the first – and only(!) – Spanish signing of Perez’s first stint as president.

His transfer may have been an anomaly, but what an anomaly it was. In Madrid, Ramos blossomed into one of the world’s finest defenders​, and the same can still be said about him to this day.

His trophy cabinet is utterly outstanding. With four La Liga titles and four Champions League triumphs to his name, Ramos will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the all-time greats, and he likely still has a few years to add to that legacy. 


Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema

When Perez returned in 2009, he was greeted by the news that a deal was effectively arranged to sign Cristiano Ronaldo already (hence Ronaldo’s omission from this list). However, Perez wasted little time making his own signing in the form of Lyon’s ​Karim Benzema.

The Frenchman joined for a fee of €35m, but endured a bit of a tricky start in Madrid. Fortunately, that didn’t last long, and he soon lived up to his billing as one of Europe’s most prolific forwards.

His tally of 222 goals for the club puts him fourth on their all-time scoring charts, and he is definitely not done just yet.​


Raphael Varane

Rafael Varane

Perez fought off a number of European signings to secure a €10m move for Lens starlet ​Raphael Varane in 2011, and it could be the finest €10m Perez has spent to date.

After eight years at the club, Varane is now widely seen as one of the world’s top defenders, and he has been at the top of his game for a number of seasons. He would generate an astronomical profit if sold, but Real will want to lose him as he effectively guarantees success.

Defenders like Varane are few and far between, and a lot of credit must go to Perez for working tirelessly to ensure he arrived in Madrid.


Luka Modric

Luka Modric

In the immediate aftermath of ​Luka Modric’s £30m move from ​Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, Perez faced a huge amount of criticism. The midfielder was thoroughly underwhelming to begin with, but Perez clearly knew exactly what he was doing.

Once he got going, there was no stopping the diminutive Croatian. He became a core part of the side who won four Champions League titles between 2013 and 2018, and his ultimate crowning glory was a well-deserved Ballon d’Or victory in 2018.

Not only did Perez strike the deal for Modric, but he opted to persevere with him through his poor performances because he knew the kind of player Modric could become. ​


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Arsenal ‘One Step Away’ From Signing Dani Ceballos in Apparent U-Turn Over Future at Real Madrid

​Arsenal are believed to be just ‘one step away’ from signing Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan this summer.

The 22-year-old wasn’t a regular feature at the Santiago Bernabéu last season and the club are looking to offload Ceballos, following his stunning performances at the Under-21 European Championships, after Real Madrid’s €300m summer spending spree.

Despite appearing to be close to joining north London rivals Tottenham, Spanish outlet AS now backs Arsenal as the frontrunners for Ceballos’ signature, claiming that the Gunners are just ‘one step away’ from signing him on loan.

Dani Ceballos

Marca has also peddled the most recent Arsenal narrative, with their report adding that Ceballos’ switch to Emirates Stadium will not include an option to buy the midfielder next summer.

Although these latest developments would suggest that Arsenal are on the cusp of their second signing following the arrival of Gabriel Martinelli – he scored on his pre-season debut against Colorado Rapids – it would prove to be a major U-turn from Ceballos’ initial stance this summer.

It’s been widely reported throughout the summer transfer window that Ceballos still sees his long-term future at the Santiago Bernabéu, and on Monday it was claimed that Real Madrid have also backtracked over their willingness to let him leave on loan.

Los Blancos have been struggling to add to their midfield despite targeting Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen, so it’s believed Zinedine Zidane would actually consider keeping Ceballos as another option next year.

But these most recent updates have pointed to talks with Arsenal manager Unai Emery as key is convincing Ceballos over a move to north London for the upcoming season.

The Spain Under-21 international has also been scouted by Liverpool and Milan at times this summer.

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Tottenham ‘Interested’ in Gareth Bale Reunion But Agent Insists Real Madrid Are Yet to Receive Bid

​Tottenham Hotspur are believed to be interested in striking a deal for Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale, although the Welshman’s agent has insisted that Los Blancos are yet to receive any offers this summer.

Bale is thought to be nearing the exit door at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, with Real looking to raise money to finance their busy summer of transfers. However, his high wage demands are thought to be a problem for any interested sides.

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​Marca state that ​Spurs have informed ​Real of their interest in ​Bale, although they are only prepared to pay up to €60m to bring the winger back to England.

They also made it clear that they would not be able to match Bale’s salary of around €17m per year, meaning Real may have to offer to pay some of his wages simply to get him out of the club as soon as possible.

However, Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, told ​talkSPORT that Spurs are yet to make a bid for Bale, describing the entire story as ‘rubbish’.

Gareth Bale

The 30-year-old is ready to stay and fight for his place at the Bernabeu, and he is not prepared to give up the remaining three years of his contract at the club. 

Real are believed to be keen on moving Bale, but only for the right offer. They are eager to recover a large amount of money, having spent heavily on the likes of ​Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy, so they are not prepared to allow Bale to walk away for cheap.

In fact, Los Blancos have already rejected an offer from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, who were ready to offer Bale a huge contract if Real would allow him to join the club for free. Understandably, Real were not keen, and they wasted little time rejecting the proposal.

Zinedine Zidane

Manager Zinedine Zidane does not want the winger, but he fears he may be forced to find a way to keep Bale in the team, with the ​Premier League transfer window approaching its end.

They are yet to receive any serious interest from other clubs around Europe, with England thought to be Bale’s most likely landing spot. However, with time running out, Real may be forced to consider other options.

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Luka Jovic Says He Was ‘Born With’ Ability to Make it at Real Madrid & Cites Ronaldo as His Hero

Luka Jovic has expressed confidence in his ability to make the cut at Real Madrid, saying that he was born with the ability to make it at the highest level. 

The Serbian joins Real after a remarkable two-season spell with Eintracht Frankfurt, in which he scored 36 goals in 75 appearances, but as recently as two years ago, he was an outcast with Benfica after a failed move from Red Star Belgrade.

The 21-year-old, however, says he doubted his ability to rebuild his career and take his game to new heights. He feels that it was inevitable given his natural ability to find the back of the net, and traces it back to his childhood obsession with Brazil legend Ronaldo. 

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“Sometimes I think I was just born with it,” he said in his ​Players Tribune column. “Everyone in this life has certain talents, and I think mine is scoring goals.

“I don’t know how I ended up playing as a striker, but as far back as I can remember I’ve always been obsessed with scoring. 

“When I was a child, I used to have these two VHS tapes of all the goals from every single World Cup up to 2006, I think. I remember being mesmerised by Roger Milla from Cameroon at the ’90 World Cup, and of course Ronaldo – the original Ronaldo. 

Brazilian forward Ronaldo jubilates as C

“I was obsessed with how he did that step-over dribble against goalkeepers. I remember it being so fast, like a magician’s trick, and I would practice how to do it at home. 

“Ronaldo would play football with such ease, almost as if he was at 30%, and I thought it was incredible. His style and confidence left a mark on me.”

He went on: “Things have happened very fast for me. A few years ago, I was just dreaming of playing for Red Star [Belgrade].

“To play in a ​Europa League semifinal, to play in a World Cup, and now to move to ​Real Madrid, it is incredible. But I think the most important thing for a striker is confidence. I’ve never doubted my worth. 

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“I just feel like I have a quality that I was born with, and I will never doubt it.”

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Real Madrid Keen to Keep Dani Ceballos at Bernabeu Despite Interest From Liverpool, Arsenal & Spurs

​Real Madrid have changed their stance on midfielder Dani Ceballos and are now eager to have him stay in the Spanish capital, despite interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

Los Blancos were unconcerned by the prospect of losing the 22-year-old as they look to recoup some of their enormous outgoings from this summer, the club spending north of £300m thus far. 

However, they were impressed by his excellent performances for the Spain Under-21 side at the European Championships in June, with Ceballos helping his nation win the competition.

Dani Ceballos

Real now view the youngster as a star of the future and believe another season at the Bernabeu could see him develop into a guaranteed starter, according to Marca.

Unai Emery’s team have reportedly made a ​loan offer for Ceballos, which would also suit ​Madrid. Though they must earn within £100m of what they spend to meet Financial Fair Play regulations, the latter are also aware that the player possesses huge potential.

As a result, the giants of ​La Liga are keen to have a means of bringing him back to the club, whether that be via a buy-back clause or simply by lending him to the ​Gunners on a temporary basis.

​Liverpool are yet to make a bid for Ceballos, whilst ​Tottenham are likewise weighing up a move, though the Lillywhites appear to be prioritising a deal for Giovani Lo Celso of Real Betis.

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Madrid may well be hoping that the Spanish international remains, but his relationship with returning coach Zinedine Zidane may dash the chances of that.

There is very little trust between the Frenchman and Ceballos, who first worked together during the 2017/18 campaign in which Real won their third successive ​Champions League.

A final decision will be made when the Betis academy graduate comes back for pre-season, with many of his teammates already back on the training following a rare summer off.

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Iker Casillas to Join Porto Backroom Staff as He Continues Recovery From Heart Attack

​Iker Casillas has confirmed that he will take up a role as a director at Porto, as he continues his recovery from a heart attack.

After being hospitalised in May, Casillas recently returned to pre-season training with Porto, although he was still expected to take plenty of rest until he has fully recovered from the serious health scare.

Iker Casillas

Speaking to ​Porto Canal, Casillas revealed that he intends to work closely with the club during his recovery.

He said: “I’m going to do something different than I usually did, which was to be on the pitch. I’ll try to make the connection between the squad and the club officials. 

“The manager talked to me last season when my situation happened and he told me that he wanted me to stay with them, close to the players, near the younger players, because there would be a lot of changes. I will try to do my best to help my teammates.

“We will prepare to do as well as possible at the beginning of the season. We already have several weeks of work but there are still a couple of weeks left until the first official matches. 

“May we all have a great season together so that we can win the championship, the cups and do as well as possible in Europe.”

There was no mention of retirement for the former ​Real Madrid star, who clearly intends to come back and fight for his place in the first team once he feels physically able to do so.

Iker Casillas

In Casillas’ absence, Vana Alves will likely continue in goal, whilst there could be chances for Joao Costa or 19-year-old Diogo Costa, who has enjoyed a number of impressive seasons as part of Porto’s academy sides.

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Eden Hazard Chooses Number 23 Real Madrid Shirt as Tribute to Basketball Legends

​Eden Hazard has requested to wear number 23 on his Real Madrid shirt, as a sign of his love for NBA icons Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

His preferred number 10 is currently being worn by Luka Modric, whilst number seven is also taken up by Mariano Diaz, so after being presented to fans without a number on his shirt, Hazard was forced to come up with another set of digits to wear.

Eden Hazard,Florentino Perez

Fortunately, according to ​Marca, this was not a hard decision for ​Hazard to make, as he specifically requested to wear the number 23 on his new shirt.

He chose that number due to his love for basketball. 23 has an iconic status in the NBA, largely thanks to Michael Jordan’s rise to prominence with the Chicago Bulls during the 1980s and 1990s.

More recently, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has also worn number 23, including during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in his career.


Back in the football world, ​Real’s number 23 is synonymous with David Beckham, who enjoyed a number of successful years with 23 on his back between 2003 and 2007. Since then, it has been worn by ​Isco and Sergio Reguilon, but Hazard is ready to become the next player to sport the number.

He was heavily rumoured to take the number seven shirt but, with Mariano’s determination to stay and fight for his place at the Santiago Bernabeu, Hazard has opted to choose another number.

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With 23 on his back, Hazard will be eager to replicate the success of both Jordan and James during his time with Los Blancos, who will call on Hazard to help them bounce back from a disappointing year last season.

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Manchester United Set Paul Pogba Transfer Deadline in Bid to Ward Off Interest From Real Madrid

​Manchester United are insistent that their valuation of Paul Pogba will be fixed this summer in a bid to ward off any potential interest from Real Madrid.

After a somewhat mixed 2018/19 campaign at Old Trafford, Pogba’s future has been thrown into question this summer, as a number of top European sides are said to be considering an approach for the 26-year-old.

Paul Pogba

It has been widely reported that ​Manchester United’s original valuation of ​Pogba sits at around £150m and, according to ​The Mirror, the Red Devils will not be budging on that stance as they look to dissuade the likes ​Real Madrid who remain front runners to land the Frenchman’s signature.

What’s more, the report from The Mirror also claims that United will not be accepting any offers for Pogba once the English transfer window shuts on August 8.

La Liga clubs have until September 2 before their window shuts, but Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has made it clear that United cannot consider selling Pogba if they do not have the opportunity to find an adequate replacement in the transfer market.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,Paul Pogba

While United’s original valuation may have initially sat at £150m, there is a chance that Real Madrid may have to cough up even more if they are to convince the Red Devils to part ways with Pogba.

​The Daily Mail have claimed that United have added £30m to their valuation, which means they will only be considering offers in the region of £180m. This decision is said to have come about as a result of the actions of Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola, who has been fuelling transfer rumours in an attempt to secure his client a big-money move.

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Sadio Mane Tipped to Make Real Madrid Move by Senegal FA Chief as Liverpool Prepare to Reject Offers

​Senegal FA chief Saee Seck has urged Sadio Mane to leave Liverpool and join Real Madrid, even hinting that Los Blancos have already made an approach for the winger.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed a stunning few seasons with Liverpool and has established himself as one of the most prolific wingers around. Links to Real are not new for Mane, although the La Liga giants have been tipped to reignite their interest this summer.

Sadio Mane

Seck, speaking to ​The Mirror, claimed that ​Mane has accomplished everything he needs to at Anfield and should capitalise on ​Real’s interest during this transfer window.

He said: “Everybody in the world knows that Mane is in the top ten best footballers in the world and he has achieved significant success at ​Liverpool in the past season.

“He alongside ​Mohamed Salah and ​Roberto Firmino are phenomenal. But this is football and he won the ​Champions League last season and he has the chance to go to Madrid. For me I think it’s the best club in the world, even if I am a ​Barcelona fan I still think Real is the best and Mane should be thinking of that offer seriously.

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“The career of a footballer is very short and sometimes you don’t get the chance a lot so if it’s there, and I think Zidane likes him, why not? 

“He played in ​Southampton and when the chance came he took it and went to Liverpool and he has held the challenge well in England. I think he will do well with another challenge in another country.”

However, whilst Seck suggested that there is already an offer on the table for Mane, the ​Liverpool Echo insist that the Reds are yet to receive any bids for the Senegalese winger and they are not prepared to even consider any approaches for Mane, who they view as a vital part of their squad.

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The Echo even suggest that, if Seck’s claims are true, that Real may have made an illegal approach for Mane, similar to the ​current controversy surrounding Antoine Griezmann’s move to Barcelona.

Last season, Mane racked up a stunning 26 goals and five assists in all competitions for Liverpool, forming a dominant attacking trio alongside Salah and Firmino. He finished as the ​Premier League‘s top scorer, and his form will be crucial for the Reds as they push for the title next season.

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Napoli President Asks Real Madrid to ‘Do More’ to Facilitate James Rodriguez Deal

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has seemingly requested a lower price for Real Madrid attacking midfielder James Rodríguez, while the Serie A club are in no hurry for a deal.

The 27-year-old is bracing himself for a Santiago Bernabeu exit after months of speculation regarding his long-term future. He’s spent the last two season on loan at Bayern Munich, but the Bavarians opted against making the deal permanent this summer.

Napoli have long been favourites for James’ signature but are looking to negotiate a lower fee for the out-of-favour star.

James Rodriguez

​Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis spoke to Sky Italia, via ​Football Espana, about the Rodríguez transfer and what it takes to secure him.

 

“We are willing to make sacrifices to secure a deal for James, but Real Madrid must do more,” he is quoted as saying. “We do want to buy him, but we are not in any hurry.

“We have not given up hope on securing a deal, but Madrid must consider that it is better to sell him, or loan him, rather than have him unhappy at the club.”

Carlo Ancelotti,James Rodriguez

The outspoken president also confirmed that there has been no direct contact between himself and the Santiago Bernabeu hierarchy over a new offer but indicated that manager Carlo Ancelotti has viewed James as the priority in the transfer market.

This comes as no surprise as the illustrious manager previously worked with the playmaker during his time in charge of both ​Real and ​Bayern. 

The 2014 Golden Boot winner has found himself on the bottom of the pecking order as his relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane slowly deteriorated over time with Zidane’s decision to leave James out of the Champions League final squad in 2017 being the tipping point.

James Rodriguez

With one of the biggest summer spending sprees in history, the 13-time Champions League winners are eager to recoup the majority of the €75m fee they splashed out five years ago when signing Rodriguez from Monaco in order to fund some more transfer dealings with Paul Pogba among those linked. 

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