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Florentino Perez: The refereeing could be improved
Editorial

Florentino Perez: The refereeing could be improved

One of the main talking points from the start of this 2017/18 season has been the quality of refereeing in Spain and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez believes there is room for improvement.

Los Blancos were unhappy about the sanction applied to Cristiano Ronaldo after he was sent off during the Supercopa de Espana, but Perez is also generally unhappy with the state of officiating.

"The refereeing class could clearly be improved," he said to Cadena SER's 'El Larguero' programme on Thursday night.

"Sometimes it's not at the top [level], as happened in that Real Madrid and Barcelona match."

"I have never spoken badly of referees and I did not tell [interim Spanish FA president Juan Luis] Larrea that the referees were treating Real Madrid unfairly.

"What I said was that it didn't make sense that the talk was about the referee after a match as big as Barcelona against Real Madrid."

Another big issue which was addressed during the interview with the club president was the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was believed to want a move away from the club, at least during the early part of the summer.

"I don't know what went on with Cristiano Ronaldo," he explained.

"There was some report that came out from [Portuguese newspaper] A Bola.

"Given that there wasn't much to talk about over the summer, they overstepped the mark.

"He was upset about the tax issue, but no news of him wanting to leave reached me, as he said he was very happy here.

"It was all forgotten and he went on holiday.

"In Monaco he made things clear, saying that he is happy at Real Madrid and he will play in the Champions League on Wednesday, so there's nothing more to do than see how excited he is to start [the season]."

Staying on the topic of Ronaldo, Perez was asked about his legal troubles and if there might be a wage increase from Real Madrid on the cards

"That is an absurd discussion," he answered.

"The information I have says that there wasn't anything he did that could constitute a crime.

"Everybody is obliged to pay the taxman, but Ronaldo came with the same structure he had set up in England and he didn't hide anything, so there is no crime.

"It is a discussion that will last a long time and there will be time to see what happened.

"What did happen is that Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world."

Perez was also asked about some of the other players in the squad, such as the in-form Isco and the out-of-form Gareth Bale.

"Isco arrived here when he was very young and all he has done is improve," the club president boasted.

"He is currently playing as we believed he would turn out.

"We will be announcing his contract renewal in the coming days, a renewal which is a done deal.

"[As for Bale], he is one of the best players we have and we are very pleased with him.

"There were no offers for him and what [Jose] Mourinho said about him was just said in a complimentary way.

"Every player is transferable right now and we'll see what happens in a year, although I don't know what'll happen next year, just as nobody does."

Finally, Perez spoke in general terms about Los Blancos' current state and he was very pleased to see them pick up where they left off at the end of 2016/17, winning the UEFA Super Cup and the Supercopa de Espana.

"I think Real Madrid have always had great players and I am obliged to make sure it stays that way," he said.

"It is true that to win three of the past four Champions Leagues is not an easy thing.

"We are currently going through an era which we haven't experienced before and a major factor in that is Zinedine Zidane."

With the dream of winning six trophies in one season still alive, there could soon be even more for Florentino Perez to smile about.

Emery defends PSG by referencing Barcelona and Real Madrid's past spending

Paris Saint-Germain have come in for a lot of criticism this summer after signing both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe from Barcelona and Monaco respectively.

However, Unai Emery suggested that clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid should take a look in the mirror before lamenting the way the French club spent big in the transfer market, referencing two instances of their activating of release clauses.

"I became used to competing against the world's best players while I was in Spain," the coach said at a press conference.

"I remember, for example, when Barcelona paid Rivaldo's release clause of 20 million euros at Deportivo La Coruna on the final day of the transfer market.

"Or later, when Real Madrid paid the release clause for Luis Figo in 2000, who was the best player in the world at the time."

That Figo deal was worth 60m euros as the Portuguese winger swapped the Camp Nou for the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Simeone on his contract extension: I asked the club not to let any players leave

Atletico Madrid were able to make an exciting announcement this week, revealing that Diego Simeone has signed a two-year extension to his contract, one which the coach has now opened up on.

Explaining his decision to push his deal's expiry date back out to 2020, after previously cutting it shorter, he pointed to the fact that all of his starters have been kept at the club.

"When the club told me that we could not sign any players this summer [due to a transfer ban], all I asked for was that nobody be allowed to leave, and that's what happened," the Argentine explained in an interview with the club's official media.

"That is why we are still here.

"If I were asked if I'd prefer to let the likes of Saul [Niguez], [Antoine] Griezmann and Koke leave and have money to sign players or if I'd prefer nobody to leave and to not be able to sign anybody, then I'd opt for the latter.

"I am privileged because of the players I have at the club."

One other reason for the decision to stay in the Spanish capital is the growth the club has been showing, not least with the move to a new stadium.

"The club has been expanding a lot since that 2011/12 season when we started," Simeone pointed out.

"I always saw that there was the chance to improve a lot and time has proven me right.

"I see that the older players have the enthusiasm of the youngsters and that the youngsters have the experience that the older players transmit and that motivates and excites me, which is why we have decided to stay.

"I have more energy now that I sign this new deal than I did when I arrived, because I know the club better and see that it's growing.

"The new stadium generates a lot of emotions, from nervousness and anxiety to optimism and excitement.

"People are going to fall in love with this stadium and I can promise them that it's very nice.

"It's going to be a pressure pot because the fans are up close to the pitch."

He also took the time to recall his favourite moment since taking over at Los Rojiblancos, as well as his worst.

"The best moment was winning the [2013/14] LaLiga title, as it was something we wanted and that we looked for and worked for," he said.

"That is the highlight of these few seasons.

"As for the lowest moment, that would be losing the two Champions League finals, especially the second.

"It was an almost irreparable pain."

For the moment, Simeone's focus is not on long-term projects, but on this Saturday's trip to Valencia, where three potentially crucial points are at stake.

Mbappe: I told Dembele not to think twice about joining Barcelona

By moving from Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain for 180 million euros, Kylian Mbappe becomes the second most expensive player in the world and he also had some advice for Ousmane Dembele, the start of one of this summer's other major transfers.

Dembele joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of 105m euros, plus add-ons, coming in to replace Neymar who joined PSG shortly before Mbappe.

"I gave him my opinion," Mbappe told Daily Telegraph in relation to the advice he gave to his countryman.

"I told him not to think twice because it is a great opportunity for him.

"He can become a better player playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

"He already has incredible talent, but he can make another step up."

In addition, Mbappe has also revealed that he could have joined Arsenal before he ended up at the Parc des Princes.

"Yes, I met with Arsene Wenger," he continued.

"He is a great coach with a great reputation in France, and he knows how to work with young players.

"He compared me to Pele, the king of football, which is really incredible."

Nevertheless, the opportunity to return home to Paris appeared to be too good to turn down.

"We weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of all the clubs, but my family told me it had to be my decision and one I needed to make," he followed on.

"It also had to be a long-term decision.

"So it was up to me and I decided [to join PSG] in order to develop."

That was not the original plan for Mbappe, however, as he wanted to stay at Monaco before changing his mind later in the window.

"When I started talking to clubs, I told them that my first choice was to stay at Monaco," he said.

"But something changed and I decided to leave.

"PSG was the only option for me - it's like coming home.

"As a child, I grew up going to the stadium."

It could have been different for the Parisian, with Chelsea having tried their best to lure the forward to Stamford Bridge at 11 years of age.

"Chelsea was the first great club I visited," Mbappe stated.

"It was a great discovery; I was impressed by the culture of work and the mentality.

"This visit helped my growth a lot.

"We played against Charlton [in a friendly] and met players from the first team like Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda."

Mbappe could line up alongside Neymar and co. for the first time on Saturday night as PSG travel to Metz.

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