Citing the lack of sporting direction the club has taken, as well as a bit of complacency among the players, Florentino Pérez has resigned as President of Real Madrid Club de Fútbol. Mr. Pérez will be most remembered by casual fans for his much-publicized "Galácticos" strategy, but his most enduring legacy will no doubt be the remarkable financial wizardry he showed in bringing the club out of heavy debt and transforming back into the most marketable club in the world, extending its influence beyond its historical sphere and into the previously untapped markets of Asia and North America. Fernando Martín Alvarez will take over as the new President.
Personally, I feel this is a bitterweet moment for the die-hard fans. Thrilled as we are by the astounding turnaround in finances, the past couple of years have led many of us to become disenchanted by the lack balance in the squad, the managerial instability, and the [perceived] attitude of some of the stars. It will certainly be interesting over the next half year, as answers to the following questions come to light:
- Does the manager have control over the squad?
It has been speculated that Pérez has wielded a heavy hand in determining that certain players must always start when healthy. Another side to this question is whether or not Caro will be able to keep hold of the reins in the locker room to the end of the year, or whether [part of] the team will revolt in apathy. Perhaps this being a WC year will help mitigate the latter question.
- Who is staying?
Pérez was personally responsible for bringing in most of the big-name stars currently on the squad. With Ronaldo dropping bricks, Zidane and RC nearing retirement, and Beckham pondering a contract extension, at the very, very least, this summer will provide a fascinating study in the restructuring of the squad, perhaps from the manager on down. By stepping down this early, Pérez has given the incoming President the time to lay down a strategy for doing this properly, I believe.
- How will the team perform?
This is tied to the first question, of course, but it bears restating the difficulties Caro will be facing as he tries to keep the team pointed in the right direction. Titles are a longshot (let us be honest!) this season, so it is of UTMOST importance that the team maintain or improve upon its league position to ensure Champions League participation next season.
(And here I was thinking that I would get up and have only the Mallorca game to write about!)