Real Madrid plans to take legal action following allegations made by a former police chief, who claimed that they bribed referees before Barcelona did.

Real Madrid are to take legal action against a former police chief who claimed their president Florentino Perez bribed referees before Barcelona were accused of paying off officials in Spain.

Barcelona have been charged with bribery after the Catalan club paid over €7 million in a period of 17 years to former refereeing vice-president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018.

The Blaugrana have strenuously and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying the payments were merely for technical reports, and adding that such a thing is normal practice at any big club.

In an interview with Catalan station RAC 1, Villarejo said: “All presidents have done it. Florentino Perez too. Somehow, at Real Madrid, before this (Negreira case) the same thing had already been detected.”

Villarejo also described Perez as “untouchable”, claiming it would be “impossible” to prosecute the construction magnate in Spain.

“It is impossible to prosecute anything that involves Perez,” he said. “It would be suicide for anyone who dares to do so. Florentino is untouchable.”

Real responded quickly to what they called “false accusations” and vowed to take legal action against Villarejo.

“The president of Real Madrid C.F., Florentino Perez, has ordered the immediate filing of the corresponding legal action against the ex-commissioner Villarejo for the false accusations made on the Catalan radio station RAC1,” the club said in a statement.

Speaking about the allegations, LaLiga president Javier Tebas said: “If he has proof, he needs to show it.” But on the claims that Perez is untouchable, he said: “That one I believe.”