Real Madrid president quits

Florentino Perez resigned as president of Real Madrid on Monday, a day after the club was beaten 2-1 at Mallorca.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
  • Total Shares


Florentino Perez resigned as president of Real Madrid on Monday, a day after the club was beaten 2-1 at Mallorca. The defeat left the club in third place in the Spanish league, ten points behind front-runner and archrival Barcelona. Perez told reporters that the board had accepted his resignation, effective immediately, and it had unanimously appointed Fernando Martin Alvarez as his successor. Looking for change "The club needed a change. We're not in the best shape," said Perez, who took over as president in July 2000. "We had tried changing coaches several times and that didn't seem to work, so the only other option left was for me to leave". Perez said Madrid had become the richest club in the world during his presidency, but had failed to secure the success on the field that the fans expected. "This change can propel the club forward for the rest of this season and into the future," Perez said. Big bucks Perez, who is also president of construction giant ACS, took charge of the powerhouse after winning a poll of club members. He set out to make the club a global brand, spending $492 million on 17 new players, including a record $89 million to acquire French midfielder Zinedine Zidane from Juventus in 2001. Initially using money from the sale of the club's training ground on prime real estate to the Madrid city government, Perez also acquired players like David Beckham, Luis Figo and Ronaldo, earning the collection of superstars the title of "Los Galacticos". The strategy resulted in increased financial success based on exploitation of Madrid's huge marketing potential around the world, especially in Asia and the Far East. Initial success The powerhouse recently replaced Manchester United as the world's richest soccer club according to an independent report released by accounting firm Deloitte. Madrid increased its revenue by 17 percent to $327 million for the 2004-05 season. It enjoyed initial on the field success under Perez, winning a record ninth European Champions Cup in 2002 and the Spanish league titles in 2001 and 2003 - the latter for a record 29th time. However, the team's performance declined following Perez's surprise decision a day after winning the 2003 title to sack Vicente del Bosque, the coach who had led the team to its most recent triumphs. 'World's best' The next season, Beckham's first, Madrid failed to win a trophy for the first time in Perez's presidency and lost a club-record five straight to end the year. Perez still secured a landslide re-election as club president in 2004, pledging to turn Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium into "the world's best". The centrepiece of his project was to refurbish the 80,000-seat venue with a steel-and-glass sliding roof, which would be in place by 2008. A new training ground was also inaugurated east of the city, near Madrid's international airport. The star-studded team's slump has continued unabated ever since, with Madrid unable to win a major trophy despite the appointment of six coaches in three years. Growing discomfort Madrid's discomfort has been aggravated by the resurgence of FC Barcelona, which won last year's league crown and appears headed to repeating. Supporters have repeatedly displayed their annoyance at their team and at its coaches, although Perez largely escaped their frustration. The last president to resign was Ramon Mendoza, who quit in 1995. (AP)