There were chants calling for the club chief to step down in Los Blancos’ laboured win at home to Leganes.
Florentino Perez will not be a happy man this morning. The Real Madrid president will have heard the chants at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday calling for his resignation. After several months of crisis at the Spanish side, the spotlight has finally fallen on the man at the very top.
Real secured their first win of 2019 after a draw and a defeat in La Liga last week and look to have avoided a repeat of last season’s humiliating Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Leganes. However, the sensations are far from positive at the moment.
There were just 44,231 spectators in the stadium last night, easily the lowest crowd of the season. Even in January and for the cup, it was a poor turnout. Nevertheless, many of those present made their voices heard.
With the scores at 0-0 early on in the game, there were chants of “Florentino, dimisión” (Florentino, resign) from a group of fans above the press box. The Ultras Sur, supposedly banished from the Bernabeu but still here and present in numbers last night, were venting their anger at the Real president.
The chant was repeated when Madrid won a penalty late in the first half, then again after Sergio Ramos scored it to give Santiago Solari’s side the lead and a couple of times in the second period as well.
There were a few such tepid chants at the weekend, too, as Solari’s side lost 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad. But this was much more noticeable and for the first time since Rafa Benitez was in charge in 2015, the president is under serious scrutiny.
Perez sacked Benitez in January 2016 and brought in Zinedine Zidane. He got lucky. What looked like the last roll of the dice ended up being a masterstroke as the Frenchman led Los Blancos to three straight Champions League crowns.
Yet the planning was often chaotic, as it always has been under Perez, and there were warning signs even last term. In fact, the team’s league campaigns show that this is a side struggling to maintain excellence over the course of a season. The European Cups have papered over all that, but the problems have remained under the surface.
Cristiano Ronaldo left in the summer and has not been replaced, while there is no Zidane waiting in the wings this time. Solari was the next best thing after Julen Lopetegui came in and lasted less even than Benitez, but the squad is weaker now.
After all the VAR controversy on Sunday as Vinicius Junior was not given a penalty after going down under a challenge by Geronimo Rulli, Madrid went ahead this time through a questionable spot-kick won by Alvaro Odriozola.
There was fortune in that and also in their second, which arrived in a moment of total apathy as Karim Benzema intercepted an awful Unai Bustinza back-pass and Vinicius cleverly squared for Lucas Vazquez to fire into the empty net.
The third was a Vinicius volley which brought the fans to their feet, a sweet strike by the Br azilian who was immediately replaced by new signing Brahim Diaz. Moments to enjoy in a morale-boosting 3-0 win and two teenagers Florentino will hope can ease the squeeze as the pressure mounts.
Perez has no absolutely no plans to resign and the last time fans called for his head, he blamed it on the Ultras Sur. “It’s always them,” he said in 2015.
And it was them last night, but if he cannot find solutions soon, the feeling will likely be shared by many more. Despite four Champions Leagues in five seasons, the Real Madrid president is running out of credit amid the club’s current crisis.