MADRID ELECTIONS SET
Current president Florentino Perez and Real Madrid legend Emilio Butragueño will go head-to-head for the presidency of the club this April.
Club members Carlos Alberto Benitez, Miguel Morales, Nando Llompart and Juan Carlos Alfaro complete the list of candidates going up against the two Real Madrid figures.
All men will reveal their mandates in March before commencing their campaigning programs prior to Election Day on April 31st 2015.
67-year-old Perez will be running for his second four-year-term as Real Madrid president and is currently considered favourite for post.
Speaking at the club’s training complex, Valdebebas, following the announcement of the elections, Perez admitted that he was close to turning down a second term in charge, but wants to be part of what he feels can be a historic period for the club.
“I’ve been in charge of Real Madrid before, and I am currently, so I could have easily left the club after we won the Champions’ League. For many candidates in my era, winning ‘La Decima’ was the ultimate goal.
“There’s far more to our squad now than just winning the Champions’ League. We have a fantastic setup and I genuinely believe we have all the ingredients of becoming a global force in football for many years to come. We can dominate world football in the next four-to-five years and I want to be part of that.
“I have a new vision for this club which is to set this club up to be head and shoulders above everyone else. I want Real Madrid to be the first team that pops up in your head when you think about football. That is my mission and I shall seek to achieve it.
Perez first became president of Real Madrid in 2000, the period in which he pioneered the infamous ‘Galacticos’, as he followed up his mandate of signing Barcelona’s Luis Figo with the signing of a new world class player each year, the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham.
Marquee signing David Beckham with Real Madrid icon Alfredo di Stefano in 2003.
Refusing to renew Vicente Del Bosque’s contract in 2003, which saw the likes of current assistant manager Fernando Hierro, Claude Makelele and Fernando Morientes also leave, Perez’s sweet tooth for attacking transfers, such as Michael Owen, Julio Baptista and Robinho, left him unpopular with Madrid fans before his resignation in 2006.
Perez was back in presidency in the summer of 2009, however, when he brought in a new breed of Galacticos, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema and more recently Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.
Under Ancelotti, Real Madrid won their much coveted tenth Champions’ League title, a trophy they had not touched since 2002, and Perez is now confident of achieving more success in Europe in the near future.
Rivalling Perez is Butragueño, a product of Real Madrid’s youth schools, who went on to play 341 times for Los Merengues in the league, scoring 123 goals.
Butragueño, along with Pirri, is the 8th greatest goal scorer in the history of Los Blancos.
The former Spanish striker, who also represented Spain 69 times and scored 26 goals for his country, was a key feature of Madrid’s side in the 1980s, winning five La Liga titles, two consecutive Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup trophies and scooping the Pichichi Award in 1991.
Butragueño found himself out of the Los Blancos setup in 1995, following the emergence of a then 17-year-old Raul, as the Real Madrid legend moved to Club Celaya in Mexico.
The ‘Gentleman of the Pitch’, his nickname for never receiving a red card in his entire career, played another 91 times for Celaya and scored 29 league goals for Los Toros before retiring in 1998.
Butragueño, now 51-years-old, has taken a deep interest in Real Madrid’s running of the club and is considered to be Perez’s biggest adversary in the upcoming election.