The Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, has angrily denied a report in Marca saying there was a rift between coach Jose Mourinho and club captains Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. The two Spain internationals backed Perez and Mourinho with a separate statement on the club's website, denying the newspaper's story of a "him or us" ultimatum.
In an unusual move, Perez called a news conference at the Bernabeu to address the report, which he said was "simply a lie" and was "designed to destabilise the club".
Marca said, without naming the source of their information, that players were threatening to leave if Mourinho continued as coach. The alleged ultimatum was given at a meal with Perez and director general Jose Angel Sanchez this week, according to the paper.
"As you can see I have changed my normal practice of not commenting on the club's day-to-day affairs," a grim-faced Perez said. "It is completely false that at the meal with the captains we had on Tuesday any kind of ultimatum was given regarding the coach or anything of the kind."
The controversy came as it was confirmed that Casillas faces a long spell on the sidelines after fracturing a bone in his hand during Wednesday's game with Valencia. He will miss the Champions League tie against Manchester United next month.
- More about: