Florentino Pérez: The 5 challenges facing Madrid's president
Cristiano Ronaldo, Raúl, Kylian Mbappé, the new Bernabéu, and basketball are on the Real Madrid president's to-do-list as he enters his fifth term.
This Sunday was the deadline for candidates to put themselves forward for the Real Madrid presidential election. The incumbent, Florentino Pérez, was the only individual to do so. He will remain the President of Real Madrid for the next four years.
Florentino begins his fifth term at the Bernabéu faced with a series of challenges to overcome, and issues to firefight, both in the short and medium term. The most pressing issue is Cristiano Ronaldo’s anger at his denunciation by the tax authorities, and subsequent threat to leave the club. But the Portuguese talisman is not the only item on Florentino’s agenda; Raúl, Mbappé, Donnarumma, and the Bernabéu will also demand his attention.
On Friday, a report by Portuguese newspaper A Bola sent shockwaves through the club: Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Spain due to indignation at the tax authorities’ investigation in to his financial misdemeanours. Three days before this story broke, Ronaldo was accused of defrauding the country of nearly €15m between 2011 and 2014.
This accusation added to the player’s existing annoyance. AS revealed that Ronaldo had already notified his agent, Jorge Mendes, prior to the Champions League Final, of his desire to Spain.
Florentino’s most pressing task will be to resolve the situation. He has no intention of selling Madrid’s number 7, who signed a new contract less than a year ago until 2021 (with an annual salary of €25m). Zinedine Zidane’s shrewd squad rotation allowed Ronaldo to flourish at the ‘business end’ of the season, with ten goals in the Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final.
The last time that Ronaldo had a sulk, in 2012, he reconciled with Florentino and emerged with a new contact.
Raúl, the legendary Madrid captain, will return to the club after seven years away. He is already in Madrid, and his arrival will be made official this July.
AS believes that Raúl will take up the role of Assistant General Manager at Madrid.
Florentino likes to be the king of the transfer market, yet he has not made a high-profile signing since the arrival of James Rodríguez in 2014 for €80m.
In the short term, the president is determined to sign Kylian Mbappé. The 18-year-old forward burst on to the European scene with Monaco, who will not want to lose their star man for less than €100m.
“A Benzema-Mbappé strike-force? It’s possible,” he said to Radio Montecarlo earlier this year. It is possible that a deal could see Mbappé return to Monaco on loan, for another season of development in Ligue 1.
Another player to have emerged on to the transfer scene is Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has decided not to renew his current contract at San Siro, which expires in 2018. His agent, Mino Raiola, has stated that Madrid are keen on his client, and have offered him a pay-packet of €6m per year. If Cristiano Ronaldo’s threats come to fruition, Madrid will receive an injection of money that could go in to the ‘galactico’ pot.
The new Bernabéu
The new Bernabéu is an obsession for Florentino. He has promised to put a roof on the stadium since 2004, when he campaigned for re-election after his first term at the Bernabéu. Yet in 2017, it remains on the to-do-list.
‘La Décima’ in Basketball
After a season in which Real Madrid dominanted in Europe but failed to win the league, Florentino will be eager to facilitate a tenth Euro League victory (Madrid won their ninth title in 2015).
Beyond adding to the trophy cabinet, the other challenge that the president faces is retaining Llull, the star of the team. Rumours linking the player to the NBA are increasing in strength and frequency. He has stated that, for the moment, he will remain in Madrid (in 2016 he signed a six-year contract), but the danger for Real Madrid is that the American dream becomes too tempting to turn down.