All founding members of the Super League from England have backed down over the idea to break away and form a European Super League, but the same can’t be said for the two biggest clubs in Spain.
Indeed, the Spanish giants haven’t been as swayed by public opinion as their English counterparts were and continue to plot a way forward for a closed shop at the top of European football.
At the heart of this continued desire to get a breakaway league off the ground is Real Madrid's president, Florentino Perez. That won’t come as any surprise given that the 74-year-old was the proposed chairman of the Super League and the one with arguably the most to gain.
In fact, these last few weeks have been extraordinary when you consider how Perez has refused to let the idea go despite facing a wave of international condemnation. Remarkably, Perez seems too busy to enjoy Real Madrid’s current European adventure, where they're at just 5/1 in the latest Champions League winner odds to win their 14th trophy. Instead, he's putting all his energy into finding a way to resurrect the dead in the water Super League.
This is naturally bad news for Liverpool as it means the saga will rumble on and continue to drag the club’s name through the mud. But one does wonder how committed the various owners are to their current climbdown stance, and if they’re merely waiting to launch this idea in another form sooner rather than later.
After all, The Athletic very recently reported that Liverpool co-owner John W Henry believes radical change is needed in football and that, eventually, it will come. This is a markedly different tone to the one that Henry adopted during an apology video following mass protests at the club.
John W Henry's message to Liverpool supporters. pic.twitter.com/pHW3RbOcKu— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 21, 2021
Yes, you can say that Perez is delusional and in his own world, but on this evidence, there is reason to believe that behind the scenes, there may be more appetite for a new league than it currently seems. The founding members of the ill-advised Super League know how much debt the Spanish clubs are in and would have surely realised that they would cling onto a financial payday that would save their clubs. Barcelona in particular has mounting debts of €1.2 billion that need repaying in the very near future.
"Don't think this #SuperLeague is finished"@GullitR reckons the breakaway competition could return as Europe's top clubs try to compete with the finances of the Premier League elite.#beINUCL pic.twitter.com/z7efPUljTk— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) April 28, 2021
In essence, these clubs have been sleepwalking into financial calamity and the only way out is through the creation of a Super League of sorts where the top clubs can get a bigger slice of the TV revenue pie. It would be naive to think that John W Henry doesn’t know that. Perhaps the Americans and others are hiding behind the desperation of Barcelona and Real Madrid as they wait to see how they can manoeuvre another attempt at a breakaway league.
Indeed, the lack of condemnation from the other founding members with regards to Perez’s unwavering commitment to the Super League is an ominous, telling sign.