BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid President Florentino Perez is closing in on a third consecutive mandate until 2021, with no candidate having declared his intention to challenge him in the election two days before Sunday’s deadline.
Perez, who began his second spell as Real president in 2009 and has presided over three Champions League wins in the last four years, has barely had to contend with any rivals for his position since the club approved changes to internal rules for presidential candidates in 2012.
The alterations meant anyone aspiring to be president had to have been a member of Real for at least 20 years compared to the old requisite of 10, and have a personal guarantee of over 75 million euros from a Spanish bank.
The barriers saw off potential challengers in the last election in 2013 while this time no candidate has even spoken of the possibility of taking on the construction magnate, who turned 70 earlier this year.
If, as expected, no candidate presents a bid before Sunday’s deadline, Perez will be confirmed on Monday as president until 2021, further cementing his rock solid position as head of the European and Spanish champions
Perez first became Real president in 2000, seeing off incumbent Lorenzo Sanz by promising to lure Luis Figo from bitter rivals Barcelona, which he quickly delivered on by bringing the Portuguese to the Spanish capital for a then world record fee of 62 million euros.
Figo was the first piece of Perez’s expensive and ambitious ‘Galacticos’ project which later brought the likes of Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo to the club. It brought initial success but ended with the team floundering on the pitch, prompting Perez’s resignation in February 2006.
The Spaniard returned to the top role at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009 using the same tactics that had got him elected nine years earlier, breaking the world transfer record twice in the a week by bringing first Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo to the club.
The large-scale investment in top talent could not initially help the club keep up with Barcelona for silverware and it was not until four years into his second premiership that the team won the La Liga title in 2012, with a first Champions League triumph in 12 years following in 2014.
Perez was in a precarious position in November 2015 following a harrowing 4-0 home defeat by Barcelona which caused furious supporters to call on him to resign.
Perez did not budge, however, and his next move in sacking coach Rafael Benitez after five months in charge and replacing him with the inexperienced Zidane proved a stroke of genius.
The former midfielder has overseen a glorious 18 months during which Real snapped a five-year run without the La Liga title and became the first team to successfully defend the Champions League by beating Juventus 3-1 in the final in Cardiff this month.
Editing by Ed Osmond