MADRID, May 29 – Former Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, set automatically to take charge of the club again on June 1, has promised to deliver fans the beautiful game as they try to move beyond Barcelona's year of hegemony.Barca won the Champions League, the Spanish title and the Spanish Cup in a superb season under debutant coach Pep Guardiola and Real were left looking ordinary by comparison.
Perez said the team he would help to build would be world beaters.
"We will build a spectacular team with top notch players," Perez told a gathering of Real stakeholders and reporters Thursday.
"We have set up a strong and stable sporting project which will be able to call upon footballers who will turn each Real Madrid match into a fascinating rendez-vous," vowed Perez, the architect of the multimillion-dollar era of ‘galacticos’, global stars such as Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham.
The recipe worked for a while and a ninth European Cup duly arrived in 2002 but, aside from a 2007 league title for Beckham’s only trophy and a Liga repeat last year Real have seen the pendulum swing spectacularly towards Barcelona this season.
And in the past seven seasons which have elapsed since Zidane’s brilliant winner in the 2002 final, the club have performed woefully in the Champions League ever since.
Perez did not mention any names regarding new top signings but the usually well-informed Cadena Ser radio said Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, currently at Villarreal, would become coach in place of stop-gap Juande Ramos, who replaced the sacked Bernd Schuster mid-season.
And reports Thursday said that the club would also land AC Milan’s Brazilian playmaker Kaka.
Media reports constantly speculate that Cristiano Ronaldo, Liverpool’s Spanish star Xabi Alonso and Bayern Munich’s French star Franck Ribery will don the all-white strip next term.
Pulling strings as top advisors will be Argentine Jorge Valdano, long ensconced in the club’s corridors of power, as well as Zidane.
Perez is set to return as chairman as the only other candidate still in the race for the job will not qualify to run, sports daily AS reported on Tuesday.
Little-known Eduardo Garcia will be unable to lodge a bank guarantee of 57.4 million euros with the club which is needed to be able to run for president by a May 31 deadline, the newspaper said.
The only other candidate who had announced his intention to run, former Real vice-president Juan Onieva, withdrew his candidadacy over the weekend.
According to the club’s rules, if there is only one candidate for president, Perez will be appointed to the post on Monday, otherwise a vote will be held on June 14.
While the club normally holds elections every four years, it faces the prospect of holding a ballot a year early due to the resignation of former president Ramon Calderon in January.
That folowed allegations he rigged voting at the club’s last general assembly in December, which approved its financial accounts.