The name of José Antonio Abellán (Madrid, 1960) has been put on the table by the president of Real Madrid in an official communiqué. They say that water under the bridge does not move windmills, but in football it is sewage. The kind that runs through those sewers that are already part of our daily lives. Videos of creams, female ministers calling a judge a "faggot", suspiciously open microphones... the skin of everything cracks.
Now the scandal arrives because El Confidencial publishes some audios where Florentino Pérez calls Raúl and Iker Casillas "swindlers". From the White House they point the finger at Abellán and hide behind the fact that they want to pass the bill to the white leader for the Superliga. This cheap and crude excuse has no chance. The biggest plot against his new football model was set up by himself that fateful night on El Chiringuito. The laughing stock of the foreign press who watched in astonishment at the media circus in which he pretended to give seriousness to the project.
Everything revolves around the man who was the musical voice of TV and radio in the 80s and 90s. Abellán was the pioneer in mixing TV and radio. What is now necessary for listeners to put faces to night-time journalists and move the EGM, he did between Tocata (TVE), Vuelta y vuelta (Telecinco) and his most prized product: La Jungla (Onda Cero and Cadena 100). This programme brought him into the homes of the most humble Spaniards and the most influential politicians and businessmen every morning. Such is the success that when he landed on Punto Radio to present Abellán en Punto, the politician María San Gil sponsored the first programme and told how La Jungla was his morning escape route in the hardest times of lead in the Basque Country.
Florentino Pérez's audios are nothing new to the president. He knew they existed because in the book 'Asalto al Real Madrid', much harsher statements by Pérez appear between quotation marks. Abellán had a manuscript of that book in 2008 ready to be published, but he was pressured not to do so. It went back into a drawer until in 2015 he published a more restrained version, albeit with more precise phrases that nobody wanted to deny at the time. What is now known are those audios. Conversations held in 2006 and recorded thanks to the engineering and haute couture that allowed him to have a sonorous lifeline of what was cooking in the capital's top restaurants. The sound reached a technician who cut it up and archived it.
Abellán has not traded in these audios. And it is hard to believe that a media outlet would pay for such evidence. The communicator lives hooked to the radio from his castle in El Tiemblo (Ávila). There he continues to brighten up the mornings for those nostalgic for his lighthearted and acidic radio thanks to streaming. His Friday morning sessions are easily recognisable on Twitter for reaching Trendig Topic. He keeps his memory in those walls. That of TV and that of radio. Public and private. Tapes, DVDs, hard disks... music that the greatest have played just for your ears. And also voices from beyond the grave that pulled the puppet strings when Ramón Calderón had to be thrown out of Real Madrid to return the throne to Florentino Pérez.
Abellán took over COPE sports in 2000. He knows no other way of life than to work. It's not for money, nor for fame, nor for status... it's all much simpler: he works because he can and because he likes it. He presented El Tirachinas at night on COPE until 2009. There he used the space El Radiador to ridicule his rivals with the famous Grupo Risa. Moving in this field was not a problem for him. Accustomed to dealing with the cream of society, on El Tirachinas he used to dry the tears of ministers, mayors, presidents, actors and singers who spoke to him in a friendly way.
Then he looked sideways at José María García. His friend. And part of the history of Spanish society. He wanted to follow his way of doing journalism. Investigating other people's miseries and soaking them in water at night. He blew up the EGM and uncovered the entrails of a totally useless and manipulated audience measurement system. COPE was expelled from the panel and advertising revenues faltered until the parties reached an agreement. But Abellán did nothing that was not already known. He was the kamikaze who crashed his station against the wall on which his workers fed. Years later he would do the same at Punto Radio when Tebas wanted to charge radio stations a fee for broadcasting matches. Abellán sat down with his friend Roures and managed to get the station into the stadiums, but the rest of the radio stations raised a hue and cry and Vocento chickened out. He attacked the president of the Association of Commercial Radio Broadcasters for not reading the draft bill that allowed this fee to be charged and making it public with derision at a press conference at the headquarters of the Madrid Press Association. That was Abellán. A loose verse that nobody wanted to rhyme with.
Like García, Abellán also used money to facilitate investigative work. Technology, deals, travel, informers... faster and easier if the economy flows. That served him well to give Real Madrid the big blow and drag the story out from 2006 to 2021. Florentino Pérez says his words are taken out of context. He is wrong, that voice is not edited, and its context is Real Madrid 24 hours a day. Another thing is the methods of getting the venom.
Ramón Calderón arrived at Real Madrid in 2006. Pérez had jumped ship. Beckham, Figo, Ronaldo, Zidane... were not responding and the defeats were piling up. He never thought that Calderón would win those elections because the best positioned to follow in the wake of the ACS president was Juan Palacios, even Villar Mir would have been good enough. Anything but the "Monchito de Concha Espina" as Abellán described him. Because Abellán put Calderón on his nightly target from the beginning. He uncovered the bad arts of Nanín and his team to add votes from deceased members and make the Madrid lawyer president. He travelled to Mexico to photograph the wasteland that Real Madrid was selling as a football academy, he cornered the pigs of Calderón's pig business in Romania... Abellán hit Real Madrid's waterline very hard.
Eduardo Inda's daily Marca and El Mundo joined his cause to overthrow the white president. Abellán's small-arms fire became a daily bombardment from the national and sports press. Abellán had his back covered because he knew that he would get nothing out of this investigation. Because he wanted nothing. It was impossible to entertain the man from El Tiemblo with charges or money. The former did not interest him and he had enough of the latter to bury many.
Florentino Pérez was always in the shadow of that coup d'état. Some say that he wanted to return to Real Madrid regretting his departure and others say that he did not want to leave the club in the hands of an incompetent like Calderón. The fact is that football's sewers moved a lot of dirt between 2006 and 2009. Abellán opened the sewer and sat down at the table with capos and plumbers to manage the information. At night, he loosened the moorings, although the message did not have the necessary force. The competition not only didn't get involved, but also protected the white leader.
When Marca and El Mundo took part, the attack took on another dimension. Abellán may have felt used, although he is not a person who allows himself to be dragged along by certain currents. His path was radio, his nights, his music, his people... he enjoyed that mud that other journalists have continued to live off. Not him. His personality prevents him from putting himself at the service of anyone. Now Florentino Pérez has singled him out for recording tapes in which he ratifies what everyone knows: that he gets on badly with players who put themselves above the club and try to take advantage of Real Madrid.
Abellán's tapes are now the recreation of a guy who lives above that. He didn't know how to retire in time and now he uses his money to pay for his radio vice. Lawyers, lawsuits, claims, sentences... nobody will do anything against a character who moves like a fish in water in the seabed of Justice. And who rarely loses. It is not worth it. Florentino returned to Real Madrid. Abellán reached ecstasy in the early hours of the morning. Others were rewarded with positions at the club or weekly exclusives. The embers of that fire are now just a broken toy with no further route.