Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been left embarrassed by a leaked audio from 2006 which appears to show him making disparaging comments about a series of club greats, including Raul and Iker Casillas.
In a report in online newspaper El Confidencial on Tuesday, Perez can be heard describing former striker Raul, the current coach of Real’s reserve team, and former goalkeeper and captain Casillas, now a club ambassador, as “the two biggest frauds at Madrid”.
Perez first became Real president in 2000 after pledging to sign Luis Figo from rivals Barcelona and ushered in the ‘Galactico’ era of marquee signings such as Figo, David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane before resigning in 2006 after the costly project failed to deliver on the pitch.
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The audios published on Tuesday are reported to have been recorded after he resigned.
Perez responded to the release of the recordings by saying they were taken out of context, adding he believed they have appeared now as he is a fervent supporter of the European Super League.
Perez is particularly scathing of Casillas, who came through Real’s academy and won the 2000 and 2002 Champions League titles while later lifting the club’s long-awaited 10th European Cup, known as ‘La Decima’, in 2014. Casillas left the club in 2015, his place among fans having fallen after a bitter falling out with Jose Mourinho, who dropped him from the side in his tumultuous final season in charge.
“He is not a Real Madrid goalkeeper, what do you want me to say. He is not, he never has been,” he said of Casillas according to El Confidencial.
He is the great mistake we made. The problem is that he is adored. I don’t know why people defend him so much. But very well, he is one of the biggest frauds. The second is Raul. The two biggest frauds at Madrid are Raul first of all then Casillas.
Casillas joined Porto after leaving Madrid and retired from the game due to health problems following a cardiac arrest in training in 2019. He returned to the club last December as deputy vice president of the club’s foundation.

Florentino Perez and Iker Casillas arrive for a press conference to announce that Iker Casillas will be leaving Real Madrid football team on July 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.

Image credit: Getty Images

Perez was elected for a second time in 2009 and has remained since, winning his last three terms unopposed in 2013, 2017 and earlier this year.
In his second term Real have won four Champions League titles and three La Liga crowns while he has made bold moves off the pitch too, overseeing the €800-million rebuild of the Santiago Bernabeu and attempting to launch the doomed Super League in April.
In a separate audio Perez can be heard criticising Raul even further and discussing Zidane and Beckham in glowing terms while being less polite about Brazilian striker Ronaldo.
“Zidane is a magnificent guy. And Beckham and Ronaldo. But then there are those who believe..let’s see. Ronaldo is an cad, full stop. Then there are other bad cads. They are very bad. Raul is bad. He thinks Madrid belongs to him and uses everything at the club, everything that has been developed, for his own needs. He and his agent. He is the reason Real Madrid are doing badly. It’s unbelievable how bad he is."
On Beckham, who Perez signed from Manchester United in 2003, he added: “Beckham is a good guy. He’s very clever, my word. He earns €30 million per year, so he must be clever.”
Perez responded to the report in a rare statement on the club's official website.
"In light of the story that has appeared in El Confidencial, in which various comments attributed to me have appeared, I would like to point out:
The comments that have appeared were made in conversations covertly recorded by Jose Antonio Abellan, who has been trying to sell them for many years without any success. It's surprising that, despite how much time has gone by, El Confidencial wished to publish them.
"The phrases that appeared are taken out of context in which they were made.
"I believe he fact that they have appeared now, so many years after the conversations took place, are related to my participation as one of the promoters of the Super League.
"I've passed the matter on to my lawyers who are studying what action to take."
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