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Volume 6 No. 212
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Former Real Madrid Finance Dir Juan Onieva Rips Real President Florentino Perez

Former Real Madrid Finance Dir Juan Onieva has "slammed current president Florentino Perez’s handling of the club, claiming that he left the club" in '00 with half the debt it has now, according to INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL. Onieva worked under former Real President Lorenzo Sanz, and he "was replaced when Sanz lost the 2000 election to Perez, who then set about ushering in the 'galactico era.'" Onieva is "vehemently in opposition to the current president of the club, claiming that he is plunging the club deeper and deeper into debt." Onieva stated that he "feels Perez’s aim is to control the club by turning it into a PLC, and hopes to accomplish this in the coming years." Onieva added that "the fact that Perez insists big money signings are part of the plan at the club shows just how little he cares for it" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 10/16). In Madrid, Marco Ruiz reported Onieva discussed Perez and the current state of Real Madrid. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Have you seen Real Madrid's accounts?
Onieva: Yes, and I have seen what economic experts have said about them. I remember that one of Perez's main principles when he arrived in 2000 was the importance of eliminating what he called a "scandalous debt."

Q: How much debt did you and Sanz leave behind for Perez and the club?
Onieva: Less than half of what there is now. It was at around €260 million. And 50 percent of this debt was from repurchase of image rights, something fundamental in helping Real Madrid later increase its revenue.

Q: How do you evaluate Perez's management?
Onieva: It is clear that Perez's ultimate goal is make the club a PLC and end up controlling it. To do this, he has brought the debt to a limit. It is an old plan of his that comes from 2000. His economic plan is a preconceived plan. What he did not count on was athletic difficulty. It is not a question of of opinions, it is about facts. The debt is scandalous and the €400 million ($540M) Santiago Bernabeu project is absurd. Eventually, the debt will be €1 billion ($1.3B) and Perez will still say, "I did not want it, but..."

Q: What do you think of how the roster has been managed?
Onieva: He has shown his lack of knowledge of what makes a team. You sell shirts based on sporting success. We are the only big European club that has not played a Champions League final since 2003. It’s a complete sporting disaster. It is ridiculous for the president of a team like Madrid to be happy with reaching a few semifinals. We have the biggest budget in the world (AS, 10/14).