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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Real presidency up for grabs
By Nada Grkinic

Real Madrid coach Jose Antonio Camacho
Who will be Camacho's new boss?
Real Madrid hold their presidential elections on Sunday 11 July.

With all three candidates promising to bring in various players - some of them from the Premiership - the whole of football is waiting to see who wins.

The futures of Wayne Rooney, Milan Baros and David Beckham might yet depend on the result.

Here, we profile Florentino Perez, Lorenzo Sanz and Arturo Baldasano - and assesses their chances of victory at the Bernabeu.


FLORENTINO PEREZ

The 57-year-old is standing for a second term as Real Madrid president after winning the last elections in 2000 when he beat rival candidate Sanz.

Perez's successful presidential campaign last time was due, in large part, to his promise to pay the 30m needed to buy Portugal midfielder Luis Figo out of his contract from arch-rivals Barcelona.

In keeping with his policy of making one major summer signing, Perez has since secured the services of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham in an attempt to export the Real Madrid brand on a global scale.

Under Perez's tenure as Real chief, the club have won two Spanish league titles and the Champions League. However, Real finished last season trophyless, with much of the blame directed at Perez for failing to strengthen the team's defence.

Strangely, Perez opted not to renew the contract of coach Vicente Del Bosque despite the fact that he had just won them the league in the 2002-03 season.

Florentino Perez
Perez remains the favourite to remain Real chief

Carlos Quieroz came in to replace Del Bosque, but endured a torrid time at the Bernabeu where, having been promised funds to make more signings, he oversaw the club's worst season in years.

And worse was to follow when Fernando Morientes was loaned out to Monaco against the wishes of the then Real coach only for the striker to knock Madrid out of the Champions League.

Perez fired Quieroz and appointed former Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho - a popular choice among Real fans who fondly remember Camacho from his days as a player for the club.

Should he be re-elected, Perez has indicated that he is lining up deals for Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho and defensive midfielder Costinha in an attempt to rectify last season's defensive frailities that saw Real finish a lowly fourth in the Spanish league.

Despite the team's failures last season, he still enjoys strong support from the influential Madrid-based sports dailies and has received widespread praise for increasing the club's profile.


Verdict: Overwhelming favourite.

LORENZO SANZ

The cigar-smoking Sanz is very much the opposite of Perez.

He was dealt a shock defeat by Perez in the elections four years ago just months after Real had won their second Champions League title in three seasons.

Back in 2000, Sanz had called presidential elections early, gambling on the goodwill generated by Real's European Cup triumph in the 1999-2000 season.

Sanz believed club competition's greatest prize would guarantee him another term in charge - he was wrong.

His defeat underlined that Real's fans, more aware than most of their often burdensome history, were not fooled by an extremely fortuitous European triumph that had been followed by a dreadful fifth place finish in La Primera Liga.

Lorenzo Sanz celebrates Real Madrid's Champions League triumph in 2000 with Nicolas Anelka
Sanz is banking on past triumphs to win Real election race

Sanz was accused by Perez of running up debts of 150m at the Bernabeu, which current Real chief Perez wiped out by brokering a deal with the Spanish Government for the sale of Real's training ground to the tune of 318m.

Sanz has since hit back, accusing Perez of squandering the money from the sale of the training ground - 110m on three signings alone - in attempt to disguise the real state of the club's finances.

The presidential candidate has vowed to follow a youth-driven policy if he is elected, ditching Perez's 'galactico' approach to signings.

As part of his election manifesto, Sanz has promised to give Real's members a greater say in the running of the club and demonstrate that his previous period as president was more successful than Perez has claimed.

Liverpool striker Milan Baros, Czech Republic midfielder Tomas Rosicky and Portugal midfielder Maniche are all on Sanz's shopping list, while he has also promised to return Samuel Eto'o - who is still part-owned by Real - to the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid fans have long memories and they are unlikely to have forgotten the poor financial state in which Sanz left the club in 2000.


Verdict: Sanz faces a tough task to dislodge Perez.

ARTURO BALDASANO

Baldasano is the third candidate running in the Real Madrid presidential race, but is unlikely to pose a real challenge to Perez or Sanz.

Businessman Baldasano believes Real have lost their traditional values of humility and hard work, arguing that the club and players have become increasingly arrogant.

He has identified England's teenage sensation Wayne Rooney as his main transfer target, saying that he would have no qualms about selling David Beckham to raise the funds as long as Camacho sanctioned the move.

Baldesano played in Madrid's junior teams, and he is a lifelong supporter of the club.

He has strongly criticised Perez for his lack of contact with the fans and promises an open style of leadership.


Verdict: Highly unlikely to become Real's next president.




SEE ALSO
Baros reveals Real offer
07 Jul 04  |  Liverpool



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