Kylian Mbappé and the New Bernabéu… these are the two landmarks in Florentino Pérez’ roadmap to catapult Real Madrid forward again like he has done twice in the past. The first time, when he was made president for the first time in 2000, saw him bring Luis Figo to the club from Barcelona. Later, Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham arrived. Thus began the era of the Galáctico, a new way to understand the building of teams and the industry of football. “There are these footballers who pay their own salary,” he said at the time to justify their wages. It would prove to be the basis of modern football contracts. The stars he signed ended up attracting a host of sponsors and Pérez shared the image rights with his footballers. Madrid made an incredible economic leap forward at that time but they only won one Champions League (2000).
The second era came under Zinedine Zidane when he was appointed as Rafa Benitez replacement in 2016. There had been incredible teams in the past, immortalized by nicknames: Madrid de Di Stéfano, the Ye-yé, the Quinta del Buitre, the Galácticos…). Under Zidane, they won three Champions League titles in a row and with Ancelotti’s one that amounted to four in five years. That was done with Cristiano Ronaldo as the talisman but he was a signing under previous president, Ramón Calderón.
Madrid’s three consecutive European titles feels like history. Football now moves at break-neck speed. Last season, Madrid did not win a single title after Zidane had left in the summer. He returned at the end of last year and this season they have one foot out of the Champions League (1-2 down to City in the last 16 after the first leg). Hazard’s arrival has kicked off a new era of superstar signings but the main course will be Mbappé. The French striker is the big moment the president has been waiting for. One of the world’s biggest superstars playing in a completely remodeled Bernabéu.
The Nuevo Bernabéu
Despite initial thoughts, the coronavirus has actually sped up works. They are on course to be finished in 2022. What remains to be seen is what effect the economic impact of the pandemic will have on them. Madrid were forced to take out a large loan of €575 million in order to do the works and will be paid back over 30 years with a fixed interest rate of 2.5%.
Real Madrid will be forced to pay €29.5 million a year starting in July of 2023 and will continue with these payments until 2049. The first three years of the loan payments have been pushed back but begin in 2023. The new stadium will cost Madrid a total of €796.5 million.
This is another main objective in Florentino Pérez’ plan. Madrid’s idea is to sign him in 2021 when he would only have one year left in his contract. It is the only way to get him at a reasonable price. Mbappé seemed dedicated to rejecting a new contract in an effort to push himself into the arms of Madrid. The pandemic has changed the situation, however, and the footballer is now planning to renew although he wants a Real Madrid clause put into the deal.
This will make Pérez’ plan slightly more difficult than it might have been but he remains focused on the plan. His dream is to see the French striker light up the New Bernabéu.