2018 DIFFERENCE MAKERS
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.