Florentino Perez rallies troops as Real Madrid reach crisis point

EXCLUSIVE: The Blancos supremo spoke to his players in person, giving his support after their derby humiliation but insisting that the slump stops here

By Alberto Pinero in Madrid

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has told the team that they have his confidence and support following the 4-0 thrashing to Atletico Madrid, but that they must use the disgrace as a turning point for their season.

Perez addressed his players at the Valdebebas training complex amidst rumblings of staff discontent, both at the performance on Saturday and Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to host a lavish 30th birthday party that night, from which pictures and images were leaked to the press.  Fans responded badly too, with some waving a banner saying ‘your laughter – our shame’ in clear reference to their biggest star’s partying antics.

While Goal’s Madrid sources revealed that the club remained calm about events on and off the pitch, Perez felt compelled to address the team on Monday after their alarming slump in form since La Liga restarted in January came to a head at the Vicente Calderon.

“I trust you,” Perez told the players, Goal can reveal. “We will return to greatness. There is much of the season ahead, and there is nothing that cannot be fixed with hard work.”

Perez also pointed to Madrid’s remarkable 22-match winning streak earlier in the season, which came after defeats to Real Sociedad and Atletico.

But with Barcelona and Atletico finding their best form, Real have to arrest this worrying run of results – which coincided with their return from a winter trip to Dubai, and Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or victory on January 12.

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