Florentino Perez’s silent race for Real Madrid leadership

March 5th, 2009 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, March 5 (DPA) Florentino Perez does not speak, but he lets others do it for him - so much so that one gets the impression that his “entourage” is carrying out his campaign for the Real Madrid presidency, even if he has not even said he is a candidate.
Ramon Calderon resigned as club president January 16, and since then a new electoral process is open at Real Madrid.

This should give the historic club its fourth president in less than three years since Perez himself resigned in 2006 after six years at the helm. And the real estate tycoon is silently expressing himself.

Florentino Perez is now a shadow, something not quite present but felt. And that is not so much his doing, but because of the number of times others name him. People from Italy to Barcelona are talking about him, and they generally do so to praise his virtues.

“I will not speak about Kaka. But I can say that with friends such as Florentino anything could happen. Florentino Perez is a great businessman and a good friend, and I say that about few football officials,” Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said this week.

Rumours are rife about the likely arrival of the Brazilian superstar at Real Madrid alongside Florentino Perez, and Galliani spiced them up. With his comments, he also assumed that the construction industry giant is planning to run for the Real Madrid presidency, and that he will win the election.

Inter Milan midfielder Luis Figo - who played for Real Madrid under Perez - agrees.

“He is going to run in the election. He will return because he likes to be there. He likes it, and he probably draws profits from it,” Figo said in an interview that Spanish daily El Pais published Monday.

Real Madrid’s current acting president, Vicente Boluda, also appeared to back Perez’s candidacy, even if Perez was the man who pushed Calderon and his men out of the club leadership.

“Florentino’s management was brilliant,” Boluda said.

Team captain Raul would not have anything against such a change in the presidency either.

“He did some things that were very good. With experience he will improve, he will have thought about it and he will improve the things he thinks he could have done better,” the striker said of Perez.

And even those who once clashed with Perez are now reaching out to greet him. That is the case with former Real Madrid centre-back Fernando Hierro, who left the club in 2003 in the wake of an alleged dispute with Perez.

“I do not hold any grudges. He had three or four fantastic years as president,” Hierro says now.

Getafe president Angel Torres, a member of Real Madrid, also backs Perez.

“If he stands he will beat any rival. He would pacify the club and he would win the election by a landslide,” he said.

Even Joan Laporta, president of arch-rival Barcelona, agrees.

“He did a lot for Real Madrid,” Laporta says.

In politics - a field in which Perez failed a quarter of a century ago - he also finds support.

“Besides being a great person, he is a great Real Madrid president. He left a very important mark. I do not know whether or not he will want to return, but I am sure that if he returns people will greet him very well,” former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar - a member of Real Madrid - said recently.

While others talk, Florentino Perez continues to turn up each day at his office in the construction giant ACS. Some say he is preparing his candidacy, others say he is thinking about it, and a few reckon he will stay where he is.

It is not often that a man can make so much noise without even opening his mouth.

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