Real Madrid were among those keen on Erling Haaland before he signed for Manchester City but Florentino Perez has issued a frank assessment after missing out on the forward
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez claims Erling Haaland wouldn’t have been a regular starter at the Bernabeu such is the quality of Karim Benzema.
The Norwegian was set to be the hottest property this summer but Manchester City quickly won the race for the forward, striking a deal with Borussia Dortmund. Haaland has enjoyed a rapid rise since bursting onto the scene and was of interest to Los Blancos.
Perez has been under pressure from the club’s fans to add a Galactico with no major signing arriving in recent years. However the Madrid chief claims adding Haaland would’ve been counter productive. He told El Chiringuito: “Mbappe deal did not create any problem with Haaland deal, absolutely. We have Benzema, so it was impossible to have him with Karim. We can not sign Haaland to stay on the bench. Haaland is an amazing, fantastic player. “
Haalad’s release clause at Dortmund meant he was always going to be available for less than his true value, but Perez isn’t sure whether the same situation exists at the Etihad. “I do not know if Erling Haaland has a release clause into his contract with Man City,” he added.
Benzema enjoyed a stellar season in Madrid, scoring 44 times. 15 of those strikes came in the Champions League as the Spanish giants claimed European glory. That could yet see the Frenchman claim the next Ballon d’Or.
A man who has his sights on that individual prize is Kylian Mbappe, but the forward turned down the chance to join Madrid after a late play from PSG saw him extend his stay at the Parc des Princes. The Parisians tabled a monumental offer which eventually saw Mbappe stay put.
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Perez has made his views clear on how the saga played out, citing the huge finances offered to the player, who he claims turned his back on his dream move.
He claimed: “His dream was to play at Real Madrid. We wanted to do it last August and they did not let him leave, he kept saying he wanted to play at Madrid and 15 days before changed the situation. Macron called Mbappe, it makes no sense. PSG offered him to be the leader of the project, it changed everything.
“It was not easy for Mbappe to receive calls from the president of France… to tell you not to leave the club. Then (you) go to Qatar and they offer things that drive you crazy, probably things out of proportion. This is why Kylian has changed.
“I did not see the same Kylian Mbappe that we wanted. He changes, he is offered other things, he is pressured and he is already another footballer. This is not the Mbappe I wanted to bring, he is another one, who must have changed his dream. Here, no one is bigger than Real Madrid. It won’t change. “