The Real Madrid Presidential Candidacy ‘Promisometer’

May 6, 2009

The campaign to be the next president of Real Madrid Football Club has finally kicked into gear with the claim from the little known Eduardo Garcia that, if elected on June 14, he will bring with him the Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

Promising big-name signings has long been an easy way for candidates to drum up support for the presidency at Real and Barcelona, the two member-owned Spanish clubs, but ever since Florentino Perez came from nowhere to take the 2000 election what was once an entertaining sideshow has become the key battleground.

Perez, you may remember, outrageously delivered on a promise to sign Luis Figo from Barcelona in 2000 and the grandmaster is set to announce he is standing again, after resigning in 2006.

Garcia, the 29-year-old director of an IT consultancy, is considered a huge outsider for the position but he earned a bit of publicity with his claim that he could land Drogba, as well as Palmeiras attacking midfielder Keirrison and Racing Santander left back Ivan Marcano. (The fact the interview was hidden away on page 6 of sports daily AS shows how seriously his candidacy is being taken in the local media.)

The latest election campaign at Real was ushered in by the resignation of Ramon Calderon, who failed to deliver on his pre-election promises of bringing Kaka and Cesc Fabregas in 2006.

While agents rub their hands, clubs in Europe and South America will bracing themselves for a flurry of interest in their players, as candidates try to outdo each other in the rush to win the votes of club members.

The other candidates will have to work pretty hard to outdo Florentino.

Most of the speculation in the sports papers is linked to the architect of the ‘Galacticos’ policy, and who he might sign — bearing in mind he successfully bought Figo, Zinedine Zidane, the original Ronaldo, and David Beckham.

Familiar names from the last couple of years such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa are filling the front pages, while coaches such as Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti are being mentioned as replacements for Juande Ramos.

So far the former president has kept quiet … but as agents’ hands are shaken and claims of signed pre-contract agreements flood in we will keep you posted using our Great Real Madrid Presidential Candidacy “Promisometer”.

GALACTICOS: Real Madrid’s Ronaldo (L), Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham congratulate Luis Figo (R) after he scored against Hong Kong during a friendly on August 8, 2003. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

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If it comes to a vote on June 14 (it’s possible that Don Florentino will be the only who can get the 53 million euro bank guarantee together) I don’t think he’ll necessarily be a shoe-in. At least two of my Real Madrid-supporting friends are less than enamoured with the former president after the painful end to his first stint in charge. Whatever happens, he’s going to need a lot of cash to persuade any of the big-name stars he wants to bring in to abandon the riches of the Premier League or Serie A for Spain.

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