Sunday, 10 January 2016

Who is Florentino Perez


Florentino Perez Rodriguez splits his time between Spain's largest construction company, Grupo ACS (Actividades de Construccion y Servicios) and the world's most valuable sports team, Real Madrid. 

Perez essentially invented Real Madrid's modern business model, signing major stars like David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane in his first tenure as president, between 2000 and 2006, boosting commercial revenues and making the team number one in terms of worldwide sales. 

Re-elected in 2009, Florentino's Real Madrid outpaced Manchester United to become the world's most valuable soccer club in 2013. Florentino has also been president and CEO of Grupo ACS since 1997. 

He owns a 12.5% stake in the global construction company and his current net worth is estimated at $1.64b.

Pérez first ran for the presidency of Real Madrid in the 1995 election and campaigned on the poor financial situation of the club and the alleged mismanagement by the board. On that occasion he lost to the much loved incumbent Ramón Mendoza.

His second attempt was more successful when he took over as president in 2000, beating the current chairman at that time, Lorenzo Sanz. 

In his campaign Pérez also promised the incredible - to bring in Luís Figo from Barcelona – which played a key role in the outcome of the elections. He was then re-elected in 2004 on a similar platform – a policy to bring some of the best football players in the world to Real Madrid each season. 

The strategy became made the Real Madrid squad became known as Galácticos. 

In 2001, Zinedine Zidane was signed from Juventus for a then-world record transfer fee of €73.5 million. A move that was followed in 2009 with Ronaldo, after short periods of David Beckham and Michael Owen playing at the club in their later years. The Brazilian superstar Robinho was also signed in 2005 but failed to impress and was off loaded to Manchester City.

In the first Perez Presidency Real Madrid won two Spanish Championships and a record ninth Champions League trophy. The club also sold the valuable Ciudad Deportiva training ground in central Madrid and cleared the club’s outstanding debt.

In the 2002–03 season, Pérez decided not to renew Vicente del Bosque's contract, despite Real capturing a 29th La Liga title. The move led to the departure of a number of the old guard including Fernando Hierro, Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Claude Makélélé.

Regardless increased financial success came the club’s way as it exploited marketing potential around the world, especially in Asia and North America. However, increasing criticism for the marketing of the brand and not enough success on the football pitch, saw Perez resign in 2006, acknowledging that the team and the club needed a new direction.

Amidst the economic crisis Pérez was the only one able to provide the €57,389,000 guarantee necessary to run for the presidency in 2008

In 2013 Pérez was awarded a fourth term as the Real Madrid president and brought in PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti – one of only six people to have lifted the European Champion Clubs' Cup as both a player and coach. Also the second manager, after Bob Paisley, to win the trophy three times. As a player he won back-to-back European Cup triumphs in 1989 and 1990.

Pérez also brought Welsh footballer and PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur for €100m - again breaking the world record. 

Florentino also announced Real is seeking to sell the naming rights for its stadium and looking for a sponsor for the €400 million project. The proposed design of the stadium renovation, produced by German architects GMP, was unveiled in 2014. 

The new design includes a retractable roof, with the overall cost of around €400m likely to be met half via the sale of naming rights and half via a bond issue to Real members. 

"We want to make the Santiago Bernabéu the best stadium in the world".

The same season proved a resounding success, as Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey and its much sought after tenth Champions League title – La Decima

In 2015 Ancelotti’s contract was not renewed and his replacement was former Liverpool, and Napoli manager Rafa Benitez – and local boy come good - who joined last June.

On January 4th 2016 Zinedine Zidane replaced Rafa.

It has been a long-time dream of Florentino Perez that a former Galactico manage the Galacticos. The most decorated French footballer now gets that chance and Perez will hoe that he does not have a Materazzi moment.

Factfile - Florentino Perez
Age: 68
Source of Wealth: construction, Self-Made
Residence: Madrid, Spain
Citizenship: Spain
Marital Status: Married
Children: 3 
#12 billionaire in in Spain

Last five Real Madrid managers
Win percentage
Juande Ramos 2008-2009 66%
Manuel Pellegrini 2009-2010 75%
Jose Mouirnho 2010-2013 72%
Carlo Ancelotti 2013-2015 75%

Rafael Benitez 2015-2016 68%
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