He New York Times published this Friday a reportage on restrictions due to the pandemic in Europe: “With the increase of the virus in Europe, resistance to new restrictions also grows,” it was titled. The piece was signed from London, but inside the text there were statements from a Madrid restorer. His name, surprisingly, was “Florentino Pérez del Barsa”. Multiple screenshots were viralized on Twitter and various media They made their pieces of the alleged trolling.
How is there going to be someone in Spain with that name? Exactly, there isn’t, but almost. “My name is Florentino Pérez. My second last name is Rato. But my commercial name is Florentino Pérez del Barsa ”. The reason is simple: Mr. Florentino Pérez has the El Aliño restaurant in the Chamberí neighborhood of Madrid, but he belongs to Barça. “Being Florentino Pérez, everyone has been giving me cane and I tell them: ‘Yes, yes, but wait, I’m from Barsa.’ There is an impressive joke with that, ”he explains to EL PAÍS. This combination of love for the Barça club and the coincidence with the president of Real Madrid, led him years ago to create his commercial name.
That trade name is the one he told Raphael Minder, a correspondent for the New York Times in Spain, when he visited the restaurant last week. Minder stopped by Pérez’s premises to ask him about the restrictions and the virus for the article they were preparing from London. When he was done, he asked for his name. And Florentino Pérez del Barsa told him. “When he told me his name, I asked him: really? Isn’t that a joke? ”Minder explains. And he showed me his card. For this type of reports I do not usually ask for the DNI. He also told me in front of other workers. I even showed him my notebook to see how he had written it. Let’s see, Pérez is the most common surname in Spain and Barsa... well there is forest and others, it could be ”, he adds.
When it came out and Spanish readers found the name, no one thought of anything other than a legendary trolley.
“Well, no, I haven’t been kidding the man,” says Florentino Pérez. “He called me worried at night, that he was on the networks and I told him that nothing was happening, that quiet, nothing happens,” he adds.
Minder logically feared that the guiri had gotten the silly joke. This newspaper contacted Ben Smith, media critic of the New York Times. Smith asked and said the reporter had a business card with the name on it. So it was.
He New York Times he is extremely careful with errors and has this matter under review. The American newspaper has an editor in charge of deciding whether to publish a correction at the bottom of the report. You will have to decide deep down whether the business name and the stir it has caused are worth it or not.
For Florentino Pérez, none of this is new. He has been saying that name to any visitor who asks him for years. Even when they call by phone, he explains, there are clients who ask to speak specifically with Florentino Pérez del Barsa. “When Barcelona came to Madrid and stopped at the Intercontinental hotel nearby, many managers would come. It was the time of Laporta and I, who identified them, told him well. And once a story of mine already appeared in a Barcelona newspaper ”, he says. Inocencio Arias, the former general manager of Real Madrid, was also once surprised: “The first time he came, the other clients who were with him asked him if he knew what he called me. I told him and he: ‘It can’t be.’ That was impressive”. The current president of Barça, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has also given him a game: “Now it has been too much. With how disastrous the president of Barça has been now, people come to eat and laugh, ”explains Pérez.
Minder, meanwhile, hopes that this story subsides without further shocks: “What bothers me is that he presents me as the most idiot in the country. If I am or not, at least not for this story. “