Florentino Pérez

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Florentino Pérez
Florentino Pérez 2016 (cropped).jpg
15th and 18th President of Real Madrid
Assumed office
1 June 2009
Preceded byVicente Boluda
In office
16 July 2000 – 27 February 2006
Preceded byLorenzo Sanz
Succeeded byFernando Martín Álvarez (unofficial)
Ramón Calderón
Born
Florentino Pérez Rodríguez

(1947-03-08) 8 March 1947 (age 74)
Alma materTechnical University of Madrid
OccupationCivil engineer
Known for
Net worthUS$2.3 billion (February 2019)[1]
Board member ofChairman of Grupo ACS
Spouse(s)María Ángeles "Pitina" Sandoval Montero (d. 2012)[2]
RelativesEduardo Pérez del Barrio (father)
Soledad Rodríguez Pérez (mother)[3]

Florentino Pérez Rodríguez (Spanish pronunciation: [floɾenˈtino ˈpeɾeð roˈðɾiɣeθ]; born 8 March 1947) is a Spanish businessman, civil engineer, former politician, and the current President of Real Madrid, as well as Chairman and CEO of Grupo ACS, a civil engineering company. He was also the first and only chairman of the breakaway football league called The Super League, a failed project that was founded and then had to suspend operations in April 2021.

Early career[edit]

Pérez attended the Polytechnic University of Madrid.[4]

Pérez joined the Union of the Democratic Centre party in 1979, serving among others on Madrid's city council.[5]

In 1986, Pérez ran in the Spanish general elections as candidate for the Partido Reformista Democrático (Democratic Reformist Party) and served as its secretary-general.[4]

In 1993, he was named vice president of OCP Construcciones. After the fusion of OCP with Gines y Navarro into Actividades de Construcción y Servicios, S.A. (ACS) in 1997, he became president of the new company.

As of 2018 he leads Grupo ACS,[6] Spain's largest construction company, and has a net worth of $2.3b.[7]

Real Madrid presidency[edit]

First term[edit]

Pérez's second attempt was more successful; he took over as President of Real Madrid in 2000, beating the current president at that time, Lorenzo Sanz. Sanz assumed that the recently won UEFA Champions Leagues in 1998 and 2000 would give him enough credit to win the elections, but Pérez's campaign, once again highlighting the financial problems of the club and claims of mismanagement by the previous boards, proved otherwise. Pérez's promise to bring in Luís Figo from arch-rivals Barcelona also played a decisive role in the elections. Pérez was reelected in 2004 with 94.2% of the total votes.

Figo also marked the start of Pérez's policy to bring one of the best football players in the world to Real Madrid each season. The strategy was initially known as that of Zidanes y Pavones – in which superstars would play alongside the Canteranos, but the players were soon popularly referred to as Galácticos. In 2001, Zinedine Zidane was signed from Juventus for a then-world record transfer fee of €77.5 million. He was followed by Ronaldo in 2002, David Beckham in 2003, Michael Owen in 2004 and Robinho for a short time in 2005. Initially, Pérez's policy worked to great success, as each new Galáctico had the squad built around them, and the team had a good balance between attack and defence. In his first years in office, Real Madrid won two Spanish championships and its record ninth UEFA Champions League.

Pérez claimed success in clearing the club's debt; however, this was contradicted by director Ramón Calderón.

Several years after leaving Real, Fernando Hierro stated that Claude Makélélé had been the club's most important and least appreciated midfielder, saying, "The loss of Makélélé was the beginning of the end for Los Galácticos... You can see that it was also the beginning of a new dawn for Chelsea."[8] From the 2003–04 season onward, with the absence of manager Vicente del Bosque and Makelele, Real Madrid failed to win a trophy.

Though Pérez's policy resulted in increased financial success based on the exploitation of the club's high marketing potential around the world, especially in Asia, it came under increasing criticism for being focused too much on marketing the Real Madrid brand and not enough on the football. He announced his resignation on 27 February 2006, acknowledging that the team and the club as a whole needed a new direction.[9]

Second term[edit]

On 14 May 2009, Pérez announced his candidacy for president of Real Madrid in a press conference at the Hotel Ritz Madrid.[10] On 1 June 2009, given that he was the only candidate able to provide the €57,389,000 guarantee necessary to run for the presidency, Pérez was announced as the new president of Real Madrid.[11][12]

In his second term, Pérez continued with the Galácticos policy pursued during his first term. On 8 June 2009, he bought Kaká from Milan for just under £60 million,[13] while on 11 June, Manchester United accepted an £80 million offer for Cristiano Ronaldo, which would once again break the world record. On 25 June, Pérez and Real Madrid announced the signing of Valencia centre-back Raúl Albiol for €15 million.[14] On 1 July, Pérez bought Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyonnais for a fee of at least £30 million, which could rise to £35 million, depending on the player's success.

On 5 August 2009, Real Madrid confirmed the signing of Xabi Alonso from Liverpool for £30 million;[15] Alonso became the second Liverpool player to join Real Madrid in the same transfer window after full-back Álvaro Arbeloa's £5 million switch to the Santiago Bernabéu in July.

On 31 May 2010, Pérez presented José Mourinho as the new manager of Real Madrid in a £6.8 million deal.

During the next three years, Pérez brought a lot of new faces to the team, including the German wonderkid Mesut Özil, and Ángel Di María, who both attracted attention from Europe's elite football clubs during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This squad enjoyed its share of domestic success in 2011 and 2012, with the club bringing home a Copa del Rey title and the Spanish League title.[16][17] However, the club's lack of success in European competition and a disappointing 2012–13 season[18] encouraged Mourinho to depart for his former club Chelsea.[19]

On 2 June 2013, Pérez was awarded a fourth term as the Real Madrid president, bringing in Carlo Ancelotti to replace Mourinho. Mesut Özil and Gonzalo Higuaín were sold to Arsenal[20] and Napoli,[21] respectively, at the start of the season to secure spots for Luka Modrić and Karim Benzema in the first team. Pérez also brought in Welsh footballer and PFA Player of the Year[22] Gareth Bale, purchased from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee reported to be in the £86 million range, yet again breaking the world record.[23] Two promising Spanish talents, playmaker Isco[24] and holding midfielder Asier Illarramendi,[25] were also secured by Pérez prior to the start of the season. The following season proved to be a resounding success, as Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey and its tenth Champions League title.

During the 2014 summer transfer window, Pérez brought in 2014 FIFA World Cup stars James Rodríguez,[26] Toni Kroos,[27] and Keylor Navas[28] to Real Madrid for a combined cost of £95 million, as well as Javier Hernández on a loan deal from Manchester United. As a result of the mounting competition for starting spots and wage disputes, Ángel Di María left the club for Manchester United for a British record transfer fee of £60 million.[29] Xabi Alonso also left during this transfer window to join Bayern Munich.[30] In January 2015, Pérez demonstrated his success in the transfer market when Real Madrid signed the 16-year-old Norwegian Martin Ødegaard in competition with many of the big clubs in Europe, including Bayern, Barcelona and Arsenal.[citation needed]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain, he tested positive on 2 February 2021, but had no symptoms.[31]

The Super League[edit]

In April 2021 Pérez was named the first chairman of The Super League, a failed breakaway league involving some of Europe's largest football clubs.[32][33] The Super League would have ended the European football pyramid system and created a league without meritocratic relegation and promotion.[34] According to the New York Times, Pérez "had been the driving force behind much of it; it was, to some extent, his brainchild".[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Florentino Perez". Forbes. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Death of "Pitina" Sandoval".[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "ABC (Madrid) – 05/05/2004, p. 46 – ABC.es Hemeroteca". ABC. Spain.
  4. ^ a b "#677 Florentino Perez". Forbes. 5 March 2008.
  5. ^ "Nuevos delegados de Saneamiento, Obras y Gerencia Municipal de Urbanismo". El País. 6 May 1976.
  6. ^ "Grupo ACS". www.grupoacs.com. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Florentino Perez". Forbes.
  8. ^ "Hierro's hunger drives Bolton to brink of history". Fernando Hierro.com. 30 April 2005. Retrieved 30 March 2007.
  9. ^ Naughton, Philippe; Costello, Miles (28 February 2006). "President quits troubled Real". The Times. London. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Perez makes presidential promise". SkySports.
  11. ^ "Real Madrid News – Real Madrid CF". Real Madrid C.F. – Web Oficial.
  12. ^ "Perez to return as Real president". BBC Sport. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Kaka completes Real Madrid switch". 9 June 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Raul Albiol, new Real Madrid player". Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009. and Karim Benzema from Lyon.
  15. ^ "Alonso completes £30m Real move". 5 August 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Madrid clinch Copa del Rey".
  17. ^ "Spanish Primera División Table – ESPN FC". espnfc.com.
  18. ^ By. "Mourinho: "Worst season of my career"". CNN.
  19. ^ "Bye Bye Mourinho!". www.marca.com. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Mesut Ozil: Arsenal sign Real Madrid midfielder for £42.4m". BBC. 2 September 2013.
  21. ^ "Gonzalo Higuain: Real Madrid striker completes move to Napoli". BBC. 27 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Gareth Bale wins PFA Player of Year and Young Player awards". BBC. 28 April 2013.
  23. ^ Hodgson, Andy (24 September 2013). "The £86m bargain: Gareth Bale has come cheaply insists Real Madrid". www.standard.co.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  24. ^ "Isco: Real Madrid agree deal for Manchester City target". BBC. 27 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Real Madrid reveal €32.19 million Illarra fee | Goal.com". www.goal.com. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  26. ^ Guardian Staff (22 July 2014). "James Rodríguez signs for Real Madrid for a reported £63m". The Guardian.
  27. ^ "Real Madrid sign Bayern's Kroos". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  28. ^ Association, Press (3 August 2014). "Real Madrid confirm signing of Costa Rica's goalkeeper Keylor Navas". The Guardian.
  29. ^ "Angel Di Maria: Man Utd pay British record £59.7m for winger". BBC. 26 August 2014.
  30. ^ "Xabi Alonso: Bayern Munich sign Real Madrid player". BBC. 29 August 2014.
  31. ^ "Florentino Perez tests positive for COVID-19". Marca. 2 February 2021.
  32. ^ "The Super League - Press Release". thesuperleague.com. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  33. ^ "Leading football clubs announce new Super League competition". www.manutd.com. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  34. ^ a b Panja, Tariq; Smith, Rory (22 April 2021). "How the Super League Fell Apart". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 April 2021.

External links[edit]

Other offices
Preceded by
Lorenzo Sanz
President of Real Madrid
2000–2006
Succeeded by
Fernando Martín Álvarez (unofficial)
Luis Gómez-Montejano (acting)
Ramón Calderón
Preceded by
Vicente Boluda
President of Real Madrid
2009–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent