2018 DIF­FER­ENCE MAK­ERS

Soccer 360 - - Champs League -

AS EVER, THE PEO­PLE OFF THE PITCH — THE MEN AND WOMEN IN THE BOARD­ROOMS AND OF­FICES AROUND THE WORLD — WHO WILL HAVE THEIR SAY IN FOOTBALL IN 2019…

GIANNI IN­FANTINO — FIFA PRES­I­DENT

Gianni In­fantino is un­der­stand­ably one of the most im­por­tant peo­ple in football, so he’ll al­ways have a big say on ma­jor mat­ters, such as La Liga’s re­quest to play matches in the United States – some­thing he re­fuses will hap­pen in 2019.

THE GLAZERS — MANCH­ESTER UNITED OWN­ERS

They say they don’t plan to sell, but Man. United’s own­ers the Glazer fam­ily could re­ceive bids from abroad for the club in 2019, with Saudi Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad bin Sal­man re­port­edly in­ter­ested in of­fer­ing £4bn for the club.

FLORENTINO PEREZ — REAL MADRID PRES­I­DENT

La Liga Pres­i­dents are elected on what they prom­ise to bring to the club, and last sum­mer Perez said Real Madrid would re­in­force the squad with “in­cred­i­ble play­ers”. They didn’t rein­vest all of the Cris­tiano Ron­aldo money, so he’ll likely be get­ting his cheque­book out this sum­mer.

FIFA DIS­CI­PLINARY COM­MIT­TEE

The branch of FIFA ca­pa­ble of im­pos­ing sanc­tions on clubs is cur­rently weigh­ing up its de­ci­sion on whether Pre­mier League sides Chelsea and Manch­ester City will face trans­fer bans for breaches of rules. Their ver­dict will have a dras­tic ef­fect on each side’s trans­fer ac­tiv­ity in 2019.

MINO RAIOLA — FOOTBALL AGENT

Trans­fers can often de­pend on the re­la­tion­ship a player’s agent has with a club, so a lot of Euro­pean gi­ants will be mak­ing ac­quain­tance with Raiola. One of the agent’s clients is Ajax won­der-kid Matthijs de Ligt, widely re­garded as one of the best young de­fend­ers around.

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