AP

Perez aims to return Madrid to glory

Florentino Perez will officially launch his campaign to bring a new Galactico era to Real Madrid when he announces his bid to regain the club's presidency.

Perez's six-year tenure from 2000-2006 veered wildly between fantasy and farce as he initially won trophies and repeatedly pulled off audacious transfer coups while the club's infrastructure gradually rotted from within.

The former politician stood down in 2006 after his reign turned sour but, following Ramon Calderon's resignation earlier this season, he has decided to step in and attempt to return his beloved club to their former glory.

Perez pulled off a remarkable achievement in 2000 by ousting successful incumbent Lorenzo Sanz on the back of a promise to mount a spectacular and controversial swoop for Luis Figo from bitter rivals Barcelona.

He then delivered on his manifesto by bringing Figo to the capital, winning two league titles and the Champions League.

Figo's arrival, meanwhile, was followed by those of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, David Beckham, Michael Owen and Robinho in what became an annual event.

His policy reaped rich rewards at first as the world's most decorated club assembled the most talented team on the planet. But his obsession with signing 'Galacticos' at any cost, while letting the defensive spine of the team wither away, saw things go badly wrong as a rudderless side full of prima donnas and sub-standard youth products ceded their grip on the domestic league to Frank Rijkaard's Barca.

Though Perez will be up against several candidates who have already announced they will run, the glamor boy of La Liga boardrooms looks set to blitz them at the ballot box and take his seat once more as perhaps the most powerful man in club football.

Perez has refused to speak publicly so far - presumably to add weight to tomorrow's announcement in the Spanish capital - and speculation has been rife about possible signings and appointments.

He knows how to curry favor with the public. While nothing short of Lionel Messi's arrival could top that legendary Figo coup, he seems set to stick with the same formula by making a number of marquee signings.

It is thought Perez favors AC Milan's Kaka over Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo but would like to sign both, while Liverpool's Xabi Alonso is a target for around 20million euros.

The intended recruitment of Alonso hints at a possible policy change by Perez, who was previously so unwilling to shell out cash for non-attacking players.

But it will also be in the boardroom and the dugout where attention is largely focused. Perez's first spell as supremo left him with an impressive contacts book and Jorge Valdano and Zidane are set for roles as sporting director and head of scouting.

The coaching issue remains a major headache, however. Despite pushing Barca relatively close this season after taking over with Madrid 12 points behind, Juande Ramos is unlikely to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu beyond the current campaign.

Perez would love Arsene Wenger to come and deliver the type of flowing football that such investment in playing personnel deserves, especially following the more efficient style of play under recent title-winners Fabio Capello and Bernd Schuster - who were both dumped by Calderon.

But despite Wenger's lean spell at Arsenal it is unlikely he would jump ship to work for a man who famously sacked Champions League winner Vicente del Bosque after winning La Liga in 2003. He would also be reluctant to relinquish control of transfers and contracts while getting involved in the internal politics so ingrained in a club like Real Madrid.

Other candidates besides Wenger would be Jose Mourinho, whose relationship with Inter Milan is uneasy despite being on course to win the Scudetto, his cross-town rival Carlo Ancelotti and closer to home, Villarreal's Chilean 'Mister' Manuel Pellegrini.

While nostalgic Madridistas crave a return to the glittering glories of Perez's previous tenure, those who saw through the ticker tape to the underlying problems last time will be hoping the former president will this time show common sense to match his outlandish ambition.