Real Madrid president Florentino Perez insists the European Super League is not “dead”, despite the league collapsing just 48 hours after its announcement.
On Sunday, 12 clubs – the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’, plus Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan – confirmed their intention to kick off the new mid-week European competition.
However, plans began to crumble on Tuesday, when Chelsea and Manchester City withdrew after an outcry from supporters, the Premier League and UEFA.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham withdrew and left on Tuesday evening Juventus president Andrea Agnellic to admit on Wednesday morning that the Super League could no longer go on.
Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico also withdrew on Wednesday, but Perez – who would become the president of the competition – remains optimistic, tells the Spanish radio show the FIR: “If anyone thinks the Super League is dead, is he wrong? Absolutely.
“We keep working and what everyone thinks is best will come up.
“The project is on standby. The Super League still exists.”
Sky Sports News reported Tuesday morning that the Super League could collapse amid uncertainty among some of the six Premier League members over whether or not the plans will go ahead.
That was confirmed when Chelsea and City were the first clubs to withdraw later that day. Perez admits one English club were not “convinced” and their doubts became “contagious”.
Read more stories from Sky Sports
“I’m a little sad and disappointed because we’ve been working on this project for three years,” he said. “There was someone in the group of six English teams who wasn’t that interested and I think that started to get contagious with the others.
“There are people of a certain age involved and maybe they were scared because they didn’t understand what was going on. We all signed a binding contract, but I don’t think any of them were ever convinced.
“Eventually there was an attack from the leagues and the Premier League was set on fire, so they said ‘let’s leave it for now’.”
A joint statement by the English, Spanish and Italian FAs and leagues, plus UEFA, on Sunday threatened the 12 Super League clubs with expulsion from their domestic competitions, suggesting that their players could be banned from representing their country.
Supporters also reacted with outrage, with Chelsea’s decision to come back amid protests outside Stamford Bridge ahead of their game against Brighton on Tuesday night.
Perez told the FIR that “40 Chelsea fans” protested, adding: “I can tell you who brought them there if you want.” However, he provided no evidence to back up his claims, and images of Stamford Bridge showed hundreds of supporters gathered to protest.
Perez believes the failure to create the Super League will prevent the biggest clubs from affording the game’s biggest stars. [Erling] Haaland of [Kylian] Mbappé, they will not exist without the Super League.
“During the pandemic, they will not exist for Real Madrid or any club for that matter.”
But Perez – who ushered in the ‘Galacticos’ era at Real during his first stint as president by signing the likes of Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham – then insisted that Mbappe could still come to the Bernabeu.
“Does that mean we won’t sign Mbappe? No, I didn’t say that,” he said. “We are now in the final phase of this season and want to finish it as strong as possible.
“We don’t know. If Mbappe doesn’t participate this year, no one is going to shoot themselves.
“People know who I am and what I do. If something doesn’t happen, it’s because it’s not possible.
“As for big signings in the future without Super League, they certainly won’t happen.”