“Politics, economics, football”, the influential president of Spanish club Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, plays on all sports arenas, and bears the badge of the captain of the European Super League, a separatist from the Champions League, and the fuse of the beginning of a war with the International Confederations.
“We will help football at all levels to raise it to the place it deserves,” said the first president of this splinter competition, which was set up by 12 of the old continent’s top clubs.
In an interview with the “El Cherengito” TV program, the Spaniard considered that “the new system of the Champions League will begin in the year 2024,” until then “the clubs will be dead.”
The 74-year-old added: “Football has to change,” adding that “it is impossible” for clubs to be expelled from the European championships that are affiliated with “UEFA”.
The person who is often called by his first name, “Florentino”, is one of the most influential men in the country. He heads the “White House” at Real Madrid, where he was re-elected president last week by acclamation. Himself a leader of Europe, and since 1997 he has held the position of chairmanship of the “BTP” and “ACS” construction company, a group with a turnover of about 35 billion euros.
Under his leadership, the political and economic elite gathered before the Coronavirus pandemic in the VIP seats at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the Spanish capital, where they were seen as concluding business deals. He defended himself in a TV interview in 2014, saying «it is just a cliché», adding: « We talk about football ».
He first came to the presidency in July 2000, and swore then to make Real Madrid a global brand and revitalize the club’s economy.
The “Galacticos” era began, which included the most prominent stars of the round-table world: In the summer that he arrived, he contracted with Portuguese Luis Figo from the traditional rivals Barcelona for 58 million euros, which is an imaginary number for that period.
The following year, Zinedine Zidane, the current coach of the team, included the Brazilian Ronaldo, the best player in the world in 2002, and then the Englishman David Beckham in 2003.
Perez, who was notoriously a money squanderer, made some of the most expensive deals in football history but has often made them profitable thanks to his savvy and marketing savvy.
He resigned in 2006 after criticism of his management of the club, which focused heavily on marketing, in the absence of a major title from his treasuries between 2003 and 2007, before returning to his position in 2009.
In a few weeks, he spent more than 240 million euros to strengthen the team, by hiring Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United and Brazilian Kaka from Milan, the last two players to win the Ballon d’Or at the time.
Despite a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $ 2.3 billion, Florentino Perez stresses that he is not clinging to money, as the son who grew up in the care of a father who worked in perfumery considers that the values lie in “normal life” and “work.”
The young engineer graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Madrid and soon tasted a taste of influence, and between 1976 and 1982, he was an activist in the Democratic Center Union Party of Prime Minister Adolfo Soares, he got acquainted with the field of business administration when he held the position of Deputy Mayor of Madrid and then Director of Infrastructure in the Ministry of Relocation. But when the new liberal and centrist party of which he was one of the officials did not win a seat in Parliament in 1986, he left politics.
In 1983, he and his friends bought at a low price a construction company in financial difficulty.
After many mergers and acquisitions, the giant ACS company was born in 1997, when Perez took over as its first president, when Spain was investing billions in construction projects thanks to European money in particular.
In 2001 he carried out a “master stroke” when he was president of Real Madrid, selling the stadiums in the club’s private training center to the city for 480 million euros, and in return his company won the right to build three of the four skyscrapers for a business center on this site.
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