Thursday, January 26, 2012

Florentino Pérez

Florentino Pérez Rodríguez (born 8 March 1947) is a Spanish businessman, civil engineer, former politician, and current president of Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, as well as ACS. He is most famous for ushering Real Madrid's period of Los Galácticos, a time in which he paid extremely high transfer fees for elite footballers.

Pérez joined the Democratic Center Union party in 1979, serving among other in the city council of Madrid.

In 1986, Pérez ran in the Spanish general elections as candidate for the Partido Reformista Democrático. He attended Polytechnic University of Madrid.

In 1993, he was named president of OCP Construcciones, S.A. 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.

Real Madrid
Florentino Pérez first ran for the presidency of Real Madrid Club de Fútbol in the 19 February 1995 election. He campaigned on the poor financial situation of the club and the alleged mismanagement by the board extensively, but lost to the incumbent Ramón Mendoza by 700 votes.

First term : His second attempt was more successful when he took over as president in 2000, beating the current chairman at that time, Lorenzo Sanz. Sanz assumed that the recently won European Cups 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 FC Barcelona also played a decisive role in the elections. Pérez was reelected in 2004 with 94.2% of the total votes.

Luís 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 world record transfer fee of €73.5 million. He was followed by Ronaldo in 2002, David Beckham in 2003, Michael Owen in 2004, and Robinho for a short while in 2005. Initially, Pérez's policy worked to great success, because each Galáctico built their squads around the player, and had a more proper team balance of attack and defense. In his first years in office, Real Madrid won two Spanish Championships and its record ninth European Cup.

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

After the 2002–03 season, Pérez decided not to renew Vicente del Bosque's contract, despite Real capturing a 29th La Liga title. Del Bosque was able to balance the many different modern player egos in the star studded team. It was widely believed that there was a political split, with del Bosque and his players (Fernando Hierro, Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman, and Claude Makélélé) on one side, and Pérez on the other. All of the aforementioned players left the club in 2003 in Pérez's shakeup bid to regain control.

In particular, Claude Makélélé, considered one of the best defensive midfielders at the time and a key component to Real's successes, decided to ask for an improved contract with the support of teammates Zidane, Raúl, Steve McManaman, and Fernando Morientes. Up to this time, Makélélé was also one of Real Madrid's most under-paid members, earning a fraction of what was paid to the Galácticos, but Pérez flatly refused to consider Makélélé's request. Upset, Makélélé handed in a transfer request, whereupon he was promptly dispatched to Chelsea. Pérez infamously poured scorn on Makélélé's footballing abilities and proclaimed that Makélélé would not be missed, saying: "We will not miss Makélélé. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and 90% of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways."

After Makélélé was sold, Pérez signed a number of high-profile attackers, including Michael Owen, Júlio Baptista, and Robinho, in accordance with his Galáctico policy. Unfortunately, all of the Galáticos were attacking players, with generally limited defensive roles and abilities, and Pérez failed to adequately replace Makélélé in the holding midfielder's role. Negotiations to sign Patrick Vieira from Arsenal in 2004 failed because of Pérez's refusal to pay high wages for "defensive players".

Several years after leaving Real, McManaman and Morientes stated that Makélélé was the most important and least appreciated midfielder, the latter 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." From the 2003–04 season onward, with the absence of del Bosque and Makélélé, 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.

Second term : On 14 May 2009, Pérez announced his candidacy for President of Real Madrid in a press conference at the Hotel Ritz Madrid. 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.

Pérez has continued with the Galácticos policy pursued in his first term. On 8 June 2009, he bought Kaká from Milan for just under £60 million. 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. On 1 July, Pérez bought Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyonnais for at least £30 million and could rise to £35 million, depending on his success.

On 5 August 2009, Real Madrid confirmed the signing of Xabi Alonso from Liverpool for £30 million, becoming the second Liverpool player to join Real Madrid in the same transfer window after full-back Álvaro Arbeloa's £3.5 million switch to the Santiago Bernabéu in July.

On 31 May 2010, Florentino Perez presented José Mourinho as new coach of Real Madrid for £6.8M.

On 1 July 2010 Real Madrid announced that Sergio Canales will join the team from Racing Santander. The fee was believed to be €4.5 million plus incentives.

On 8 July Real Madrid signed Argentina International Ángel di María from Benfica. The transfer fee was a total of €25 million plus €11 million on incentives.

On 15 July 2010, Real Madrid confirmed the transfer of Pedro León for €10 million from Getafe.

On 30 July 2010 Real Madrid signed Germany international Sami Khedira from VfB Stuttgart for €14 million.

On 10 August 2010, Real Madrid signed Ricardo Carvalho for a reported fee of £8 million on a 2–year contract with an optional third from Chelsea.

On 17 August 2010 Real Madrid confirmed that they secured the signing of Germany's World Cup 2010 star Mesut Özil from Werder Bremen for €15 million.

Real Madrid's signings for the 2010/11 season (Canales, di María, Pedro León, Khedira, Carvalho and Özil) were presented at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium before the match against Peñarol kicked-off. The fans at the stadium gave each player a clamourous welcome.

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