“Hey you. I know you’ve been training for this your whole life… but I own you,” Florentino Perez (essentially) to Angel Di Maria.
This is priceless.
With Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria trying to recover in time for the biggest game in the known universe, his club president sent a letter to his national FA that forbid the midfielder from playing.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been ready to greet any microphone as Di Maria went through the process of transferring away from the Spanish giants, and most recently said he understood why Di Maria skipped town.
But maybe it wasn’t all about money. Look, I know ADM is an incredible asset for a club, but what kind of club thinks it’s bigger than the national pride associated with playing in, and maybe winning, the World Cup final?
Real Madrid, that’s who. From Sky Sports:
“I suffered a lot that morning, it was the worst thing that’s happened to me in my life in football because reaching another final is very difficult, not to say impossible,
“The letter was handed to (late Argentine FA president) Julio Grondona and he said if I wanted to play I should do so anyway. From what I understand it had something to do with insurance.”
And Grondona’s son agreed that his late father had been handed a letter, saying: “We received the letter signed by Florentino Perez saying he did not allow Di Maria to play.
“We called Di Maria and together agreed to tear it up. We were pressured.”
Di Maria, whose goal earned Argentina a 1-0 win over Switzerland in the last 16, suffered a leg muscle injury during their quarter-final match against Belgium and took no further part in the tournament.
Believe me, I understand the business side of it for Perez and Real Madrid. And we can even ignore the fact that ADM was so important to Real Madrid that they were willing to sell him.
It’s just that in my view, some things are sports-sacred. The World Cup final is most certainly one of them.