Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is convinced Karim Benzema will be awarded the Ballon d'Or later this month.

Benzema played a talismanic role as Madrid won LaLiga and the Champions League last season, scoring 44 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions.

The striker has already hit the net three times in four league games this season, and is set to return from a three-week injury absence against Osasuna on Sunday.

The next winner of football's most prestigious individual honour will be announced on October 17, and Perez is in no doubt as to who will receive it.

"Benzema has already received the UEFA best player of the year award and in the coming days, he will be awarded the Ballon d'Or," Perez said, in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo.

"No one doubts it."

Benzema's recent absence has failed to prevent Madrid from making a perfect start to their title defence, winning their first six games of the season in LaLiga.

Los Blancos are the only team in Europe's top five leagues to have maintained a 100 per cent winning record this campaign, and Perez has been delighted by their form.

"We have a squad to keep dreaming of all the challenges and challenges that will come. Real Madrid does not allow complacency or relaxation," he added.

"After winning the European Super Cup, we have won all the games we have played, being the only club in the five major leagues that has achieved it. This is the path."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez appeared to again promote the idea of a European Super League as he warned the current state of football shows it is "sick".

Perez has been a leading figure in calls for Europe's elite football clubs to secede from UEFA competitions in recent years, and he was chairman of the proposed Super League in 2021.

The breakaway competition collapsed on the back of shaky alliances between clubs as well as political and public pressure, with each of the five aligned Premier League clubs withdrawing in the days following the announcement.

One of Perez's primary arguments for the concept was to allow Europe's elite to play one another more often, though Madrid did face Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool on their way to winning the Champions League last season.

"To fix a problem, you have to first recognise that you have a problem," Perez said at the club's AGM on Sunday. "Our sport is sick. It is losing its leadership as a global sport.

"We mustn't be confused by the impact of Real Madrid's European Cup run when we were involved in seven games of the highest intensity and interest.

"That was the result of the draw, and of the quality and greatness of our team. It was a spectacle that helped bring excitement back to the viewers.

"That's why we believe European competitions must change, to offer fans top-level games year-round between the strongest teams, with the best players competing."

The 75-year-old also cited tennis, where the recently retired Roger Federer has regularly faced fellow elite players Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"In tennis, Nadal and Federer have played 40 times in 15 years. Nadal and Djokovic have played 59 matches in 16 years," Perez added, quoted by ESPN.

"In football, we've only played Liverpool nine times in 67 years. We've played Chelsea four times in the history of the European Cup. What sense does it make to deprive fans of all these games?"

Perez also spoke of a recent ranking from Forbes of the world's 50 most valuable sports teams, which had Madrid down in 13th, below several US sports teams.

"We were top in all sports, and now we've fallen to 13th," he said. "We've been overtaken by 12 clubs from American sports. They must be doing something very well in the United States and very badly in Europe.

"Football is losing the global entertainment battle against other sports and other platforms.

"We need a professional, modern, transparent management, not based on old structures designed in the last century. 

"Recently the chairman of the European Clubs' Association [Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi] said – talking about the Super League – that Real Madrid are afraid of the competition. Maybe the president of the ECA has to be reminded who Real Madrid are. Competition is in our DNA."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin declared European football must remain open to all clubs amid ongoing speculation concerning a breakaway Super League.

Although the majority of the Super League's founding members withdrew in the face of public and political pressure following a much-criticised launch last April, the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus remain committed to the project.

Florentino Perez, who was to be named Super League chairman, has continued to call for Europe's elite clubs to secede from UEFA, insisting the breakaway competition was "still alive" in June.

More recently, Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos backed the stance of the Blancos president by claiming: "It [the Super League] should have been in operation for a long time".

But Cerferin, speaking at the FPF Football Talks Portugal 2022, emphasised his confidence in the continental game's existing structure.

"Football, for sure, will stay open in our competition always. The essence of European football, which is by far the strongest football in the world, is that it's open," he said.

"What those people who think that only the elite play football don't understand is that even they would be much worse if they wouldn't have everyone competing. 

"Last season we saw Sheriff [Tiraspol] from Moldova winning in Madrid against Real Madrid. If my Slovenian team with a budget of two million won against Tottenham, that's the essence of European football. It's part of our culture. It's part of our history and it will never change. 

"It shouldn't change and what many people don't know is that UEFA returns in club football 93.5 per cent of all the revenues to the clubs, and altogether 97 per cent of all the revenues go back to the clubs. 

"This is the most important part of football and that's why we are as successful as we are. I absolutely insist and will insist that the dream will stay alive for everyone."

One of the clubs' major motivations for looking to break away from UEFA, besides the ability to regulate their own competition, is to arrange more money-spinning contests against other elite sides.

Despite the Super League's demise, the participants are set to get their wish when the Champions League introduces an additional four group-stage matches for each team from the 2024-25 season. 

That change has been met with fierce criticism from some quarters, with the busy nature of the football calendar already a major talking point.

While Ceferin acknowledged the challenges created by the schedule, he claimed a "balance" between player welfare and financial sustainability had been found, and pledged there were no further reforms planned. 

"The calendar is very dense. I have to say it feels close to the limit probably. The thing is that clubs have to stay sustainable," he added.

"If clubs want to be sustainable, they have to have a certain amount or number of matches. Now, the ones who complain are mainly from the big clubs who really play more than the others, but from the other point of view, they have 25 top-class players.

"So the truth here is not black and white. I think we should seriously think about the number of matches, some think that two cups are too much. That's not the jurisdiction of UEFA to decide.

"But in principle, from one point of view clubs are saying that they want matches to get revenues so they can say sustainable. From the other point of view, some are complaining about too many matches. 

"So we have to find a balance here. I think we did find it and we changed the competition post 2024. After that, I don't see any possibility of changing anything soon."

Meanwhile, Ceferin also highlighted his confidence the World Cup would make a return to Europe in 2030, backing a joint bid from Spain and Portugal. 

"I see it as a winning bid. We will do whatever we can to help the bid. It's time for Europe to host the World Cup. Both countries are passionate about football," he said.

"You feel and you smell football in Spain and Portugal. The infrastructure is great. 

"So we have some plans on how to help. I think, and I'm sure, that will have the World Cup in 2030 in Spain and Portugal."

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos anticipates plans for a European Super League will be revived, as he refuted claims of the Premier League's superiority.

Madrid president Florentino Perez has led calls for Europe's elite clubs to secede from UEFA competitions and was the driving force behind last year's proposed breakaway competition. 

While most of the Super League's slated participants withdrew following public and political pressure in April 2021, Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have remained committed to the project.

In June, Perez branded UEFA's control over the continental game a "monopoly" and declared the Super League was "still alive", and Kroos supports the president's plans. 

Speaking on the podcast OMR, Kroos said: "Never contradict your own president!"

"It is obvious that the idea existed and still exists. It should have been in operation for a long time, I think it will take a while to carry it out and I will probably not see it as an active player.

"My opinion on that is that I still believe it will come, but I can't say when."

Kroos, who has won four Champions League titles since leaving Bayern Munich for Madrid in 2014, also professed his desire to stay with Los Blancos.

"I've been at Real Madrid for eight years and there was closeness from day one," he said of his relationship with Madrid president Perez.

"I know that in these eight years he hasn't thought for a second about selling me. At that time, I came for 'only' €25million, surely I could have been sold later for more money.

"I have an excellent relationship with the club, I've grown very fond of it. The president, the team, the fans... so I won't leave."

It has been suggested the Premier League has developed into a quasi-Super League, with English top-flight clubs spending an estimated £2billion on transfers during the recent window.

But Kroos, who helped Madrid beat Liverpool to claim their 14th European crown in May, says English clubs' shortcomings on the continental front prove that is not the case.

"The Premier League has not won an international title this year," Kroos added. "Television money has been significantly higher in England for years and yet it hasn't resulted in English teams winning everything. 

"Thank god not all players look only at salary, but also at winning."

Madrid begin their Champions League title defence when they face Celtic on Tuesday.

Real Madrid are "very proud of the history" Casemiro has made at Santiago Bernabeu, ahead of his transfer to Manchester United.

That is according to club president Florentino Perez, who spoke glowingly of the 30-year-old at his farewell ceremony on Monday.

Casemiro brings the curtain down on a nine-and-a-half-year stint at Madrid this week, as he nears a move to Manchester United.

A mainstay of the great Madrid side that won a trilogy of Champions League triumphs under Zinedine Zidane, Casemiro leaves as one of their most decorated stars.

Speaking ahead of the player's own farewell words, Perez delivered a glowing tribute to the outgoing player, stating that he departs as a "legend".

"We're very proud of the history you have made at this club," he stated. "Real Madrid is a very demanding club, but you've not only been able to cope with it, but also made it better.

"You've been a role model for this club, and everybody admires you for the commitment you have given since the day of your arrival. You have given the best for this club and your attitude and talent has taken you very far.

"It’s not easy to close this impressive cycle of your career at Real Madrid. You've won 18 trophies; five Champions League titles, three Super Cups, three LaLiga titles.

"For everything that you've given this club you have the right to take your own decisions, as far as the future is concerned. You leave after being voted man of the match in the Super Cup final.

"I'm very proud of you, and our fans are too. You are joining a legendary club, Manchester United, to continue to make history. Regardless of where you are going to be in the future, you will always be an example here.

"You have achieved so much. You are leaving the club as a Real Madrid legend. Thank you very much for helping us make history at Real Madrid."

Manchester United-bound Casemiro achieved legendary status at Real Madrid and thus deserved the right to decide his own future, according to Los Blancos president Florentino Perez.

Erik ten Hag's United have struck a deal with Madrid for a reported initial fee of around £60million (€70.7m) to sign the Brazil international.

The midfielder will reportedly move to Old Trafford on a four-year deal as Ten Hag attempts to improve a disappointing United side that sits bottom of the embryonic Premier League table.

Well wishes from team-mates and supporters alike have flooded in for midfield enforcer Casemiro, who has lifted five Champions League titles and three LaLiga trophies during his time in the Spanish capital.

Madrid chief Perez, who will appear alongside Casemiro at his farewell presentation on Monday, was quick to express his gratitude to the 30-year-old as he prepares for a new challenge in Manchester.

"Casemiro is a legend, he has earned the right to decide what he wants to do for everything he has given us," Perez told DAZN. 

"Next Monday, we will give him recognition with a tribute at the Ciudad Deportiva [training ground] for how much he has done for this club."

Casemiro will not arrive on English shores in time for the Premier League clash with Liverpool on Monday, though he may make his debut against Southampton the following week.

Madrid will still have the evergreen Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to call upon, along with Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and new signing Aurelien Tchouameni among Carlo Ancelotti's midfield ranks.

Los Blancos have started their LaLiga defence with back-to-back wins after thrashing Celta Vigo 4-1 on Saturday, and Perez assured the club will fight to defend their Spanish and European honours.

"We are facing this season with great enthusiasm, we believe that we have a great team and that we have a magnificent coach," he added.

"We are obsessed with fighting until the end and what a good result [Ancelotti] gave us last year, we are delighted."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez ruled out further additions following Los Blancos' Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, as he backed the team's ability to cover for talismanic striker Karim Benzema. 

Goals from David Alaba and Benzema – who moved above Raul in Madrid's all-time goalscoring charts – sealed a deserved win for the Champions League holders on Wednesday.

The triumph represented the ideal start to Madrid's 2022-23 campaign and meant the Spanish giants have now won 17 of their last 19 one-legged finals. 

Since winning the Champions League and LaLiga last season, Madrid have added highly rated midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and powerful defender Antonio Rudiger, both of whom appeared from the bench in Helsinki.

And Perez is satisfied with Madrid's business as he ruled out signing a back-up striker to cover for Benzema.

"We have to continue training well, Ancelotti managed the squad, today we don't contemplate anything else," he told Movistar after the match.

"Look at all the strikers we have. If he [Benzema] does [get injured] we have so many strikers that it won't be noticed."

Asked whether he believed the France striker was on course to win the Ballon d'Or, Perez added: "In my opinion he already deserved it last year and this year more."

 

Madrid's victory also saw Carlo Ancelotti surpass Pep Guardiola as the coach with the most Super Cup titles (four) and Perez showered praise upon the European specialist after he brought yet another trophy to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"We've had a good season and this Super Cup makes us very excited," Perez said. "First you have to reach the finals and then win them. We have a great team, it's hard work well done.

"Ancelotti manages this squad very well, it is an important part of the success and we start this new season, which begins on Sunday, with great enthusiasm. 

"This year it is true that everything has gone well for us and nobody can be dissatisfied but you have to keep working, every day you work for your future."

Kylian Mbappe decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain due to the club's "project" and rejected a more lucrative offer from Real Madrid, according to the Parisians' president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Al-Khelaifi also hit out at suggestions Mbappe possesses undue influence in footballing decisions at the club in an explosive interview with Marca, as well as labelling La Liga "dead" and claiming to never have heard of the league's president Javier Tebas.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Madrid upon the expiry of his contract in Paris this month, but committed his future to PSG until 2025 in a shock decision in May.

That decision sparked fury in Spain, with Madrid president Florentino Perez claiming the striker "must already be sorry" for snubbing the European champions, and LaLiga chief Tebas accusing the French club of trying to "destroy" European football in a complaint to UEFA over supposed financial fair play breaches.

But Al-Khelaifi says Mbappe's choice was never about money, and even claims to have known the 2018 World Cup winner wanted to stay long before the end of last season.

"I have great respect for Real Madrid as a club, they're a great club, but Kylian has never decided to renew for the money, that's the first thing. Madrid's offer was better than ours," he said.

"He is our player and he had other clubs in England as well as Madrid, but he chose PSG, and we didn't talk to him or his family about money until the last moment. 

"Kylian was above all interested in the project, in football and sport. He is Parisian, he is French, and he wanted to stay here to represent his city and his country, his club, and it is not fair what has been said about him."

The PSG chief rejected huge bids for the striker before last season and says he did so in the knowledge he would decide to renew: "I knew 18 months ago that Mbappe wanted to stay. I heard that Madrid said he wanted to play for Madrid, but it wasn't true. 

"We are talking now about Madrid's latest offer, but in the summer [of 2021] they made an offer of €170million and 180million. That means that Madrid's offer, plus his salary, was already better than ours, as it is now. 

"I turned down 180 and they told me I was crazy, people I trusted, because he could leave for free, but I did it because I was sure Kylian was going to stay because I know him and his family well. I know what he wants. 

"Kylian is very serious, professional, and he wants to play and win, he doesn't care about money. I understand that Madrid are disappointed, but it's not fair to say that about Mbappe."

LaLiga have complained about the spending of both Manchester City and PSG to UEFA, claiming a need to keep European competition "clean".

But Al-Khelaifi is not worried about accusations of overspending, as he labelled the Spanish top flight "dead" and said last year's signing of Lionel Messi demonstrated PSG's ability to invest and stay within the rules.

"Who is Tebas? I don't know that person," he claimed. "Our style is not to interfere in the affairs of other clubs, other leagues or federations, it is not our style. But I am not going to accept that others give us lessons. 

"I don't care what he says, the truth is, we have been talking about this for years. We have a football project to build, and we are going to go ahead. We're not worried about everything that comes out in the media, because we can't waste our time with everything that comes out.

"Every year, every summer, it's the same thing. He says we don't respect the fair play, we don't respect the others? We know what we can do, who we can sign, we know better than him what we can do and nobody has to tell us what to do. 

"We don't have to be told by someone from outside what we can or cannot do. If we do it, it's because we can. Look at the case of Messi. It was the same, they said it was financially impossible, and we have made money with Messi. 

"He has no idea and he should focus on his league because La Liga is a bit dead."

Al-Khelaifi, who also serves as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA), could not resist taking another swipe at Madrid over their continued support for the European Super League, which failed spectacularly upon its attempted launch last year.

Madrid, along with Barcelona and Juventus, are still committed to the breakaway project, and Al-Khelaifi says their jubilation at winning the Champions League last month is strange in that context.

"For me it [the Super League] is already dead," he said. "But it's also strange. Madrid have won the Champions League and deservedly so, but on the one hand they want to win it and on the other hand they don't want to play it. 

"If you're not happy you don't need to play it. It's the best competition in the world and I don't even know why the Spanish fans are also against this competition, but for me the Super League is dead."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez thinks Kylian Mbappe will already be regretting staying at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe was widely expected to move to Madrid when his PSG contract expired in June, but agreed to a three-year extension in the French capital.

Perez previously stated the Mbappe who snubbed the LaLiga and European champions is not the same character he wanted to bring to Los Blancos.

The Madrid chief, speaking during a meeting with the club's fans, again commented on Mbappe's decision as he declared the World Cup winner will be wishing he had moved to Los Blancos.

"The poor guy, Mbappe must already be sorry," Perez said when signing autographs after a fan had asked him about the France international.

 

Mbappe was in scintillating form in the 2021-22 campaign as he scored 28 league goals, a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (35) across Europe's top five divisions.

The 23-year-old also added 17 assists, with no player in Europe's biggest leagues managing more direct goal involvements (45) – France team-mate Karim Benzema ranked second with 39.

Mbappe will hope to deliver further success for PSG in the 2022-23 season as the French giants bid for their ninth Ligue 1 title in the last 11 seasons.

Kylian Mbappe could fulfil his "dream" of playing for Real Madrid in the future and chose to remain at Paris Saint-Germain due to "political issues", according to former Los Blancos forward Hugo Sanchez.

Mbappe had been widely expected to join Madrid on a free transfer before the 2018 World Cup winner elected to sign a blockbuster three-year extension to remain with PSG last month.

That decision irked senior figures at Madrid, with president Florentino Perez telling El Chiringuito the striker was "already forgotten" after Carlo Ancelotti's men won a 14th Champions League title last month.

LaLiga have also gotten involved in the saga, with the league's president Javier Tebas lodging a complaint about PSG's spending with UEFA, accusing the Parisians of seeking to "destroy the ecosystem of European football".

But Sanchez, who scored 208 goals in 283 appearances for Madrid between 1985 and 1992, winning five LaLiga titles and finishing as the league's top goalscorer on five occasions, thinks Mbappe could still end up at the Bernabeu in the future.   

"It's very difficult to answer you, because I'm not in his head, in his brain, nor am I him," he told Marca.

"But I sense that he didn't say no to Real Madrid, but he told Real Madrid to 'wait for me a little bit'.

"He has so many pressures, so many external situations, and maybe even family members have pressured him and influenced his decision to [not] choose Real Madrid. It was his wish [to join Madrid], it was his illusion, it was his dream, but that dream, as he said, well, the dream can wait a little while.

"I think he is showing signs that he wants to go to Real Madrid, but now, because of political issues, social issues… economic issues I don't think they are, because he was going to earn a lot of money at Real Madrid, as he is going to earn a lot of money at PSG, so it is not because of money.

"Rather, he has not said no to Real Madrid, rather he said, 'I cannot betray other types of situations that are stronger than money'. You have to understand that."

 

Sanchez was also asked how his own talents compared to those of Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who has been widely tipped to win the Ballon d'Or after recording 59 goal involvements (44 goals, 15 assists) in 46 games last season.

But he refused to engage in such a debate, only saying that true footballing greats would shine in any era and that Brazilian legend Pele was his first idol.

"It is very difficult, these are answers that you must answer first and not me, because I am very respectful in terms of eras and times," he said.

"What I am sure is that players like Pele and [Franz] Beckenbauer, who are older than me, would succeed in today's soccer, and so would all the great players who have been participating in this wonderful sport.

"I feel that because of the physical conditions and the training and preparation that we have today, we can say that people nowadays, like Cristiano Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi, if they had been born in the time of Pele, Beckenbauer, in our time, would be shining exactly the same way.

"The great talents and the great footballers, the successful people, I believe that they would succeed in any period.

"On my side, my reference was Pele, apart from other Mexican players who were playing professionally when I was a kid."

Florentino Perez says Kylian Mbappe must have "changed his dream" by rejecting Real Madrid to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe had been expected to join Los Blancos as a free agent, but signed a blockbuster new three-year deal with PSG last month.

Madrid president Perez says the Mbappe who snubbed the LaLiga and European champions is not the same character he wanted to bring to the Spanish capital.

He told El Chiringuito: "Mbappe is already forgotten. We have had a perfect season and we will continue to work to get the best players.

"His dream was to play at Real Madrid, we wanted to do it last August and they didn't let him leave, he kept saying he wanted to play at Madrid and like 15 days before he changed the situation.

"This is not the Mbappe I wanted to bring, he is another one, who must have changed his dream. He changes, he is offered other things, he is pressured and he is already another footballer.

"There is no one at Real Madrid above the club. He is a great player, he can win more than others, but it is a collective sport and we have values and principles that we cannot change.

"The Mbappe who was going to come here is not this one. If it is, I prefer him to stay at PSG. I want the one with the dream."

Perez did not rule out making another move for Mbappe when he comes to the end of his new deal.

"Impossible in three years? In three years' time we'll all be bald?" he added.

"This Mbappe is not my Mbappe, who refuses to do a publicity stunt with his national team... I don't want that. It could have been a slip of the tongue, but I think he was mistaken."

Erling Haaland was also linked with Madrid before joining Manchester City, but Perez says Los Blancos did not need the Norway striker when they have Karim Benzema.

He added: "We have the best nine in the world and we weren't going to bring in Haaland to have him on the bench, right? Clause [Haaland reportedly has a release clause in his City contract] in two years?

"I don't know. We have no interest now other than to build the new team with the youngsters we have and some reinforcement."

Zinedine Zidane has always been a man focused on Real Madrid and France and therefore would not take the Paris Saint-Germain role should it become available.

That is the message from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who briefly discussed the potential vacancy at PSG should reports prove to be true that Mauricio Pochettino will depart.

Pochettino lifted the Ligue 1 title with PSG in the 2021-22 season, his first trophy as a coach, but failed to deliver in the Champions League, falling to a last-16 exit against Madrid.

European glory remains the main goal for PSG's QSI ownership, with the understanding that Pochettino and the Ligue 1 giants have held discussions and agreed to part ways.

Zidane emerged as a frontrunner for the PSG job before Pochettino was appointed, but the preference of the 49-year-old remains to be seen.

Many believe Zidane is eyeing the France job should Didier Deschamps' Les Bleus role become available after the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Zidane managed Madrid for two spells between 2016 and 2021, winning 11 trophies with Los Blancos – the second most successful manager in the club's history.

The Les Bleus great has also lifted PSG's much-desired Champions League crown on three occasions as a coach, with three consecutive successes in Europe's premier club competition between 2016 and 2018.

But Perez, speaking to the El Chiringuito programme in Spain, finds it hard to envisage PSG securing the services of Zidane.

 

"Zidane at Paris Saint-Germain? I don't know, but he's always been a man for Real Madrid and the French national team," Perez said. 

"That's what I know about him. But maybe he's now in a different situation."

Christophe Galtier, Julen Lopetegui and Marcelo Gallardo are also said to be among the favourites if Pochettino expectedly departs.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has insisted his hopes for a European Super League are still alive on Wednesday, with the judicial process still ongoing.

Perez has historically been a leading figure in calls for Europe's elite football clubs to secede from UEFA competitions, and was the chairman of last year's proposed breakaway competition.

It collapsed on the back of shaky alliances between clubs as well as political and public pressure, with each of the five aligned Premier League clubs withdrawing from the Super League in the days following an announcement to secede.

Speaking on the El Chiringuito programme, the Real Madrid president branded European football's current structure a "monopoly" for UEFA's gain and revealed plans to eventually break away from the rest of European football have not formally been suppressed.

"Of course it is still alive, right now there is a question raised in the Luxembourg Court, there will be a hearing shortly and it will rule on the issues we have raised," Perez said. "We believe that we have the right, within the European Community, to organise competitions between us, with UEFA.

"We understand that UEFA is a monopoly and in this Europe of 27 [EU member states] a pillar is that of competition."

On whether he was afraid that Madrid would be banned from the Champions League after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin's threat to expel aligned clubs from UEFA competitions, he added: "We have never had that fear, and that was when they said it at the beginning.

"No, we want to win the Champions League. PSG is not our enemy. Neither Chelsea nor [Manchester] City. Everyone who competes is friends, we get along with everyone."

The 75-year-old also expressed lament over Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain, believing internal pressure led to his eventual choice not to join Madrid, but reaffirmed no individual will be greater than the club.

"His dream was to play for Real Madrid, we wanted to do it last August and they didn't let him out, he kept saying he wanted to play for Madrid and about 15 days before the situation changed," Perez said.

"He changes, they offer him other things, they put pressure on him and he is already another footballer.

"There is no one at Real Madrid above the club. He is a great footballer, he can win more than others but it is a collective sport and we have some values ​​and principles that we can't change them. I love him, he made an effort and the pressure made him change his circumstances and it's not easy."

An emotional Marcelo declared Real Madrid have "a promising future" as the Los Blancos legend issued his farewell at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday.

Marcelo has been with Los Blancos since 2007, making almost 550 appearances for the LaLiga giants, but confirmed he would depart after last month's Champions League final victory over Liverpool.

That was the fifth Champions League title added to the left-back's illustrious trophy haul, while he played a part as Madrid lifted their 35th LaLiga title with four games to spare.

The Spanish top-flight success made him Madrid's most decorated player in history after lifting 24 trophies with the club, before adding another European triumph to extend his record.

Marcelo only appeared 18 times in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign, but the 34-year-old is delighted to leave behind a legacy at "the best club in the world".

"When I left Brazil I had in mind to play in Europe, to play in the Champions League and now when I leave Real Madrid, I leave as the player with the most titles in the history of the best club in the world and that is something historic," he said at his farewell news conference.

"There are no words to explain the gratitude, the work of all those who are behind it, all of them. I have tried for all these years, I have treated everyone equally.

"There will be no problem coming back. I don't feel like I am leaving, but there will be no problem.

"I have always lived for the moment. I have not thought beyond it. Here they gave me the opportunity to play it all and to win it all on the magical nights at the Bernabeu.

"I can only be grateful that I have lived all these years happily, with a smile on my face. I haven't had many injuries, I had good games, I scored goals.

"I don't think much about the future. It's hard to leave the club of your life after 15 years. There's a lot of joy, suffering, pain...

"I've given everything for the club. I would do the same thing again. Wearing this shirt is a very nice thing. The future doesn't scare me – it's what I had to do. History is already written. I'm very happy with myself."

As for his next move, Marcelo remains unbothered by going into coaching and was unable to provide an update on his playing future amid talk of a move to Turkey.

"When I have something, if I have something, I'll tell you," he added. "I don't have the capacity to coach – I have other facets that I think I'm better at.

"Tactics for me have always been strange. I've never understood systems. But I really enjoy playing. I don't think I'm a coach, I don't think I'll try."

Marcelo signed off by assuring Los Blancos supporters that the club was in safe hands, adding: "Real Madrid has a very promising future".

Florentino Perez claimed he had "already forgotten" Real Madrid's failed pursuit of Kylian Mbappe after watching his side beat Liverpool in the Champions League final.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Madrid when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired this year.

But the World Cup winner had a change of heart last week and instead committed to a new three-year deal in Paris.

Rather than have Mbappe come to Madrid, Madrid came to him on Saturday, visiting the French capital for another Champions League final and another triumph, winning their 14th European crown and making it eight successive victories when reaching the competition's final.

Vinicius Junior netted the only goal in a 1-0 win, showing the sort of firepower Madrid still possess even without Mbappe.

And president Perez vowed the LaLiga and European champions will continue to chase the world's best players after their transfer disappointment.

"Mbappe is already forgotten," he told Movistar. "We have had a perfect season and we will continue to work to get the best players."

Madrid already have one of the best around in goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a record nine Champions League final saves to keep Mohamed Salah and Liverpool at bay.

"Thibaut has had a spectacular season," Perez said of the Belgian. "He is the best goalkeeper in the world, and that's why we brought him to Real Madrid."

 

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