Return of Perez raises expectations at Real Madrid

May 30th, 2009 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

David Beckham Madrid, May 30 (DPA) The imminent return of Florentino Perez to the presidency of Real Madrid has raised massive expectations amongst the media and supporters.
Perez, 62, will be appointed as president Monday, without the need for elections, because no other candidate has managed to produce, by midnight Friday, the bank guarantees for 15 percent of the club’s budget that the statutes of the club insist upon.

If there were elections, the billionaire construction magnate would almost certainly have scored a comfortable victory, according to all opinion polls.

Now the question has to be: what kind of Perez are we going to see this time?

Will it be a rerun of his first term, from 2000 to 2004, when he put the club’s finances in order, built a handsome new training ground, signed “Galactico” stars Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham - and led Real to two Spanish Ligas and one Champions League?

Or will it be the hesitant, erroneous Perez of his second term, from 2004 to 2006, when he signed mediocre players, chopped and changed coaches and sporting directors at will, failed to win anything - and resigned under a cloud in mid-season?

In an interview on Tele 5 Friday night, Perez said that “I have learned from my mistakes” and that “it was a mistake to resign like that” (in February 2006).

He promised to sign “some of the best players in the world”, but without going into detail about who they will be and who will be their coach.

According to AS and Marca, Manuel Pellegrini will be presented to the media as the new Real coach on Tuesday, after he winds up his contract at fifth-placed Villarreal.

Perez and Jorge Valdano, his sporting director from 2000 to 2004, would have preferred either Arsene Wenger or Jose Mourinho, but they have decided to stay at Arsenal and Inter Milan respectively.

Valdano, a man who has fulfilled just about every possible role at the Estadio Bernabeu over the years, will be assisted by Zidane, a popular figure amongst “madridista” fans.

Perez - unlike disgraced predecessor Ramon Calderon - has good relations with the different Spanish media groups, and is well known for “feeding” transfer stories to sports dailies AS and Marca.

On Saturday AS claims that Perez and Valdano want to “Spanishize” Real, by bringing in Xabi Alonso from Liverpool, plus David Villa and David Silva from cash-strapped Valencia.

Marca, for its part, suggests that they are also interested in Valencia defender Raul Albiol, that the signing of playmaker Kaka from AC Milan could go through “within a few days” - and that Cristiano Ronaldo is keen to leave Manchester United and come to Madrid.

Calderon - president from 2006 until this January, when he was forced to resign because of the false delegates scandal revealed by Marca - talked endlessly about signing Kaka and Cristiano, but failed to deliver the goods.

Perez knows that he will be judged on his ability to overturn the domination of “treble” winners Barcelona, within a couple of years at the most. Real supporters are never happy at living in Barca’s shadow.

On Friday Perez said that Barca’s success “will serve as a stimulation for me”.

Also Friday, Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas said that “our intention is to make things harder for Barca next season”.

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