FOOTBALL

World Cup win­ner and Fifa’s World Player of the Year bought a 51pc stake in the La Liga min­nows at Sh3.5bn

Business Daily (Kenya) - - HEALTH -

Why Ron­aldo’s buy in Real Val­ladolid is a mas­ter­stroke

He doesn't want to just throw money at it," said Guillem Balague of Brazil­ian great Ron­aldo's takeover at Real Val­ladolid. "He's not a rich daddy that way." The World Cup win­ner, three times voted Fifa's World Player of the Year, took a ma­jor step into club own­er­ship by buy­ing a 51 per cent stake in La Liga min­nows Val­ladolid for 30 mil­lion (Sh3.5 bil­lion) on Septem­ber 3.

On the sur­face, it might seem an odd move — his new club has just been pro­moted to La Liga, has lit­tle money and is widely ex­pected to strug­gle to stay up.

Yet ac­cord­ing to Span­ish football ex­pert Balague and his col­leagues on BBC Ra­dio 5 live's Euro Leagues Pod­cast, the move might just prove a mas­ter­stroke.

Ron­aldo had a good work­ing knowl­edge of Real Val­ladolid be­fore buy­ing his ma­jor­ity stake — as he co-owns a wine busi­ness with Jose Moro, who was the club's vice-pres­i­dent un­til June. Balague said: "The rea­son Ron­aldo's done it at Val­ladolid is that he knows the area. He feels there is a lot of po­ten­tial at this club. It's one of the his­tor­i­cal clubs of La Liga. In the all-time ta­ble of La Liga, they are 13th."

But his­tory, po­ten­tial and the ad­van­tages of lo­cal knowl­edge are not the only rea­sons for want­ing to buy the club, ac­cord­ing to Balague — who be­lieves that tak­ing charge will help Ron­aldo with his long-term am­bi­tion to be the head of Brazil­ian football.

"He says he's not go­ing away on hol­i­day, hav­ing bought the club," Balague said. "He wants to be in­volved hands-on. "He wants to be the pres­i­dent of the Brazil fed­er­a­tion, so it will be a good ex­pe­ri­ence for him to do what he's do­ing at Val­ladolid."

The Brazil great was renowned for his skill on the pitch, but has also en­joyed off-field suc­cess, hav­ing in­vested in a sports mar­ket­ing com­pany as well as co-own­ing the wine busi­ness with Moro.

Ac­cord­ing to Euro Leagues Pod­cast pre­sen­ter Mina Rzouki, Ron­aldo's great strength lies not in busi­ness acu­men, but in get­ting the right peo­ple around him. She said: "He's done very well to say that he will keep the pres­i­dent in place, that he will just watch what's hap­pen­ing and slowly try to im­prove the club in the best way that he can. "Ob­vi­ously, the club's debt will go, or has al­ready gone, and he will work slowly with the peo­ple who are ad­vis­ing him to try to make the most of it.

"He's aware of his lim­i­ta­tions, and aware that he needs to del­e­gate. I think that's what makes him a smart man." The pur­chase of a ma­jor­ity stake in Real Val­ladolid is well-timed, given La Liga is on an ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing drive to in­crease its earn­ing po­ten­tial, ac­cord­ing to BBC Euro­pean football ex­pert Steve Cross­man.

La Liga has signed a con­tract to play one game per sea­son in the US for the next 15 years, and Ron­aldo's pres­ence at Val­ladolid now makes them a very at­trac­tive prospect, Cross­man ar­gues.

"I ac­tu­ally think, as a de­ci­sion, it's a no-brainer," he said. "It's cer­tainly a good time to be in charge of a Span­ish club, be­cause the money from TV rights is only go­ing to go in one di­rec­tion.

"On top of that, you've got the new North Amer­i­can link-up. If you're Val­ladolid, that is a mas­sive money-spin­ner for you”.

--AFP

CLUB OWNER Brazil­ian football star Ron­aldo.

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