EXCLUSIVE Florentino Perez: "Our model sustains itself"

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez insists that the club's financial model will work – and says there's no ill-feeling between the club and Manchester United.Madrid broke the world transfer record this summer by paying £80m to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from the English champions, despite manager Sir Alex Ferguson previously claiming he "wouldn't sell a virus" to "that mob."But despite the big-spending Spaniards also paying large sums for Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso, Perez has faith that Madrid aren't simply spending uncontrollably in order to catch champions Barcelona."Our model sustains itself," Perez tells Guillem Balague in an exclusive interview in this month's FourFourTwo magazine – out now. "[Zinedine] Zidane, for example, was a cheap signing as his arrival allowed new commercial deals and generated revenue."Madrid clearly rely on shirt sales and lucrative tours to recoup speculative expenditure – a system pioneered in Perez's previous presidential reign. The former construction magnate first took the helm at the Bernabeu in 2000 and ushered in the era of the Galacticos, signing Luis Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham. He resigned in February 2006 after two trophy-free seasons.DAMAGE DONEHowever, Perez is adamant that he is wiser now – "you learn from your mistakes" – and has stepped back in because "The club was not using its resources well."I left the club in a sound financial state and on top of European football. I want to put right the damage done over the last three years."Some of that "damage" has been in relationships with fellow European clubs. Madrid had been overtly pursuing Cristiano Ronaldo for some time and Ferguson's stinging criticism of their transfer tactics came in December 2008, under previous president Ramon Calderon."Alex Ferguson has only positive things to say about me," claims Perez. "Our relationship with English clubs is positive. My personal priority is to ensure that relationships between clubs are cordial. Fair play works on and off the pitch."The new issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out now, includes a 14-page special on Barcelona and Real Madrid with much more from Perez – and further exclusive interviews with Kaka, Iniesta, Laporta, Raul, Puyol, Hierro, Stoichkov and Laudrup.