Perez promises Bernabeu tribute to former Real Madrid president Sanz

By Sports Desk March 22, 2020

Florentino Perez believes Lorenzo Sanz deserves "the greatest recognition" from Real Madrid, promising a tribute will be made to the former president at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Sanz, who was club president at Madrid between 1995 and 2000, died at the age of 76 after contracting the coronavirus.

In a statement on the club's website, current president Perez highlighted the success Madrid enjoyed under Sanz, who presided over two Champions League triumphs, including the 1998 title that ended a 32-year wait for glory in Europe's top club competition.

"Today, we remember Lorenzo Sanz, who has fallen victim to this tragedy," Perez said.

"He was the president who gave us Madridistas the long-awaited European Cup after a 32-year absence. We Madridistas will forever remember him as the president who brought hope and joy flooding back on the 20th of May 1998 in Amsterdam.

"La Septima was ours. It was then followed by La Octava two years on, in the year 2000 in Paris, as Real Madrid returned to its rightful position in football's history books.

"Beyond those two European Cups, under his tutelage, the club also clinched one Intercontinental Cup, one LaLiga title, a Spanish Super Cup, a basketball league title and Cup Winners' Cup."

Perez said Sanz still attended Madrid matches regularly and was present to witness the club's four Champions League triumphs between 2015 and 2018.

He had been admitted to hospital with coronavirus-like symptoms and his son, Lorenzo, announced his death on social media on Saturday.

Perez added: "We've lost a fine Madridista who dedicated a large part of his life to what was both his and his family's greatest pleasure: Real Madrid.

"Here at the club, we'll do all we can to honour his memory and legacy, to pay him the tribute that all of Madridismo craves. Lorenzo deserves the greatest recognition.

"A tribute to him in our Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where he continued to attend every game in order to stay close to his team. For now, as we all know, this is not possible, but we will of course ensure it takes place in order to enshrine his memory in the minds of new generations of Madridismo."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Depay in pole position for Barcelona move, Man Utd want two signings Rumour Has It: Depay in pole position for Barcelona move, Man Utd want two signings

    Memphis Depay remains Barcelona's preferred transfer option, while Manchester United want Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles in this window.

    LaLiga giants Barca have been linked with numerous attackers as they rebuild under Ronald Koeman.

    Depay has seemingly been the favourite to join, and it appears nothing has changed.

     

    TOP STORY – DEPAY THE FAVOURITE TO JOIN BARCELONA

    Depay is in pole position to join Barcelona from Lyon, according to Mundo Deportivo.

    The report says Depay, 26, fits the profile and salary expectations at Barca.

    Depay and Koeman worked together while the latter was in charge of the Netherlands between 2018 and 2020.

    ROUND-UP

    - United are still hoping for two signings this transfer window. The Sun says the Red Devils are looking to land Borussia Dortmund star Sancho and Porto left-back Telles .

    - Arsenal could be close to strengthening by signing Houssem Aouar . Telefoot says the attacker has agreed to join the club, with Lyon and Arsenal set for talks over a fee.

    - As they continue their search for a defender, Manchester City may be close to making a decision. Goal reports the Premier League club are in talks with Benfica over Ruben Dias , in a deal that could see Nicolas Otamendi  go the other way. Meanwhile, ESPN says Sevilla are expecting an improved bid from City for Jules Kounde after an initial £50.2million (€55m) offer was rejected.

    - Chelsea may not be done spending just yet. The Mirror reports they want to make another move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice , and it could lead to Jorginho joining Arsenal .

    - Sergino Dest is expected to join Barcelona and Guillem Balague claims the Ajax right-back should officially join them next week. Barcelona sold Nelson Semedo to Wolves this week.

    - Could there be late movement in the transfer window for Tottenham ? The Sun reports Spurs are in talks to sign Inter defender Milan Skriniar and are prepared to pay between £25m (€27.4m) and £30m (€32.9m), which is well below Inter's valuation.

  • Messi's Last Dance: The records the Barcelona star can break – and what could hold him back Messi's Last Dance: The records the Barcelona star can break – and what could hold him back

    He might not have buried the hatchet, but Lionel Messi has promised Barcelona he will give his all in the coming season.

    His attempt to leave the club, played out in public long before he spoke openly about his plans, ended with him accepting he will spend at least one more year at Camp Nou.

    Messi is still angry with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, still upset with the way the team has declined since 2015's treble, but he was smiling again when he played in the 3-1 friendly win over Gimnastic, a grin that gladdened the hearts of Barca fans across the world.

    So, with exit talks on ice, the focus is once more on how Messi can carry this team to domestic and European success while the impact of that 8-2 battering by Bayern Munich last month still lingers.

    He managed 31 goals and 25 assists last season, the latter number his highest such tally in five years, the former the lowest. He completed more dribbles per game than ever (5.91) but recorded his lowest shots-per-game tally in at least five years (4.57).

    The freescoring sensation of his earlier years is past; he is now creator-in-chief, a deeper-lying attacking menace, on whom the pressure is arguably greater than ever after years of mismanagement of the playing squad from those above.

    So, what can we expect from 2020-21, the season that may come to be known as Lionel Messi's "Last Dance"?

     

    THE RECORDS HE HOLDS

    This is just a handful, of course.

    Messi is the all-time leading goalscorer in LaLiga with 444. In Europe's top-five leagues, only long-time adversary Cristiano Ronaldo has more (447).

    In all competitions for Barca, Messi has scored 634 goals and provided 254 assists in 731 appearances. That puts him on 888 goal involvements for the club - a tally nobody even comes close to matching.

    Messi has scored at least 30 goals in each of the last 12 seasons and is the only player to score at least 10 in 14 consecutive LaLiga campaigns. He holds the record for the most in a single season, too: he scored 50 in 2011-12.

    And, of course, he is the only man to win the Ballon d'Or six times.

     

    THE RECORDS THAT BECKON

    If Messi features in 31 of Barca's 38 LaLiga matches, he will eclipse Xavi's record of 505 appearances for the club in Spain's top flight. He will also surpass Xavi for games in all competitions for the Catalans (767) if he plays 37 times overall.

    Messi will close on the LaLiga record held by Manolo Sanchis for the most appearances at a single club in the division, but he will need more than one season for that - Messi is on 485, while ex-Real Madrid man Sanchis played 523 times.

    Of course, Messi will be desperate for trophies this season after a barren 2019-20, and winning two will see him draw level with Ryan Giggs when it comes to titles won with the same club. Giggs won 36 with Manchester United.

    But how about this for a feat: if Messi gets 10 goals this season - and let's face it, there's a good chance - he will set a new record for goals scored for the same club in official competitions. The current best is 643, set by a former Santos forward known as Pele.

     

    THE PROBLEMS HE FACES

    After the friendly win over Gimnastic, Koeman made it clear he plans to deviate from Barca's traditional 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 that will, hopefully, get the best out of their midfielders. Such a system would presumably see Messi stationed as the number 10, behind a central striker.

    Perhaps that's no bad thing: Messi, as a false nine under Pep Guardiola, played the most games (219) and scored the most goals (211) of his career in all competitions. His role under successor Tito Vilanova was similar and yielded 60 goals in 50 games, giving him a career-best average of 1.2 goals per game.

    His most prolific season - 2011-12, the last under Guardiola - saw Messi record an astonishing 73 goals and 29 assists, leading to his calendar-year record of 79 goals in 2012. Again, that was from a central position in the attack, albeit one in a team filled with exceptional players. A shift back to the middle could suit him.

    The trouble is that Messi is increasingly having to do all this himself. The supporting cast has dwindled in quality since 2015 and his most productive relationships are behind him.

    Luis Suarez (47) has the most assists for Messi at Barca and completed his switch to Atletico Madrid this week. To continue a recent theme, his great friend expressed displeasure with the board over the matter. The top five Messi assisters after Suarez have all long left the club: Dani Alves (42), Andres Iniesta (37), Xavi (31), Pedro (25) and Neymar (22). The next on the list is Jordi Alba (21), whose own spot in Koeman's team is not entirely certain.

    He has never looked entirely compatible with Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati is still a raw talent in many respects, and the squad will take time to adjust to any new formation, not to mention new arrivals in Miralem Pjanic and, perhaps, Memphis Depay. What's more, the embarrassment of last season's final few weeks will be fresh in the players' minds and the unrest from the boardroom downwards will never be far from the headlines.

    When it comes to carrying this team, Messi has rarely looked so alone.

  • Barcelona still have a squad capable of challenging – Zidane Barcelona still have a squad capable of challenging – Zidane

    Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane believes Barcelona have a squad that is capable of "fighting for everything".

    After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, Ronald Koeman is rebuilding the Blaugrana, who have seen the likes of Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Nelson Semedo leave.

    Philippe Coutinho has returned from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Miralem Pjanic joined from Juventus, while Lionel Messi ended up staying after requesting a move.

    Zidane, whose Madrid visit Real Betis on Saturday, said Barca were strong enough to again be challenging for titles.

    "I will be respectful. Besides, I don't know what's going on inside, that's why I don't want to get involved," the Madrid coach told a news conference.

    "I think each club has their own issues and difficulties. I think Barcelona, in terms of the team and the squad, is a club who will be fighting for everything.

    "I don't have any doubt."

    Madrid have also seen some changes to their squad, most notably the departures of Gareth Bale (on loan to Tottenham) and James Rodriguez (Everton).

    Bale's relationship with Zidane reportedly deteriorated in recent months, although the Welshman told Sky Sports on Friday he had "no regrets".

    Asked if he had anything to say about Bale, Zidane said: "I'm not going to speak about what Gareth said.

    "Against, what I will say is that we wish him the best for the future and we are focused on ourselves now. That's all."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.