The 38-year-old spoke with former Italy international fellow Christian Vieri about his experience. “I was at Real Madrid, and it’s kind of different from the rest of the world,” Cassano said on Vieri’s podcast.

Florentino Perez is the Pope, the King and the Cardinal

Antonio Cassano, who played for Real Madrid from 2006 to 2008, spoke about his time with the club and highlighted president Florentino Perez’s influence. The 38-year-old spoke with former Italy international fellow Christian Vieri about his experience. “I was at Real Madrid, and it’s kind of different from the rest of the world. At this point, Florentino Perez is the Pope, the King and the Cardinal. If he decides to offer you a one-year contract and agree with another team that will provide you with three, he will determine if you stay. Luka Modric was going to leave the club, he stayed and won the Ballon d’Or. Fabio Cannavaro, same thing.

“He played well with Juventus that year. But they could have given it to Gigi Buffon or Zinedine Zidane if it wasn’t for the head of the World Cup,” Cassano said, highlighting Perez’s influence. “Zlatan Ibrahimovic joked about Ballon d’Or a couple of years ago and said that Florentino always won it,” Cassano added. Ibrahimovic did make such a claim in 2018. “Messi was competing for the Ballon d’Or with Florentino Perez, not Cristiano Ronaldo,” said the Swede.