Former Brazil striker Ronaldo takes over Spanish club
MADRID (AP) — Former Brazil great Ronaldo took over Monday as the majority stakeholder in recently promoted Spanish club Valladolid, saying he is bringing his soccer expertise to help the team succeed.
Ronaldo now owns 51 percent of the shares of the club. He will preside over the board of directors while Carlos Suarez will remain club president, a job he held before Ronaldo’s arrival.
“I’m really excited,” Ronaldo said at Valladolid’s city hall. “My entire life has been about football and this is another great challenge for me, a very big one.”
The former Brazil striker said “transparency” and “competitiveness” will be part of the basis of his management.
Financial details were not immediately available, but local media said the operation was worth about 30 million euros ($35 million).
“I’ll try to put all my soccer knowledge at the players’ disposal and will try to manage the club efficiently,” he said. “I want the club and the city to grow.”
Valladolid, which is based in a city of about 300,000 people, is playing in Spain’s top division for the 41st time in its 90-year history. It last played in the top league in 2013-14.
Suarez said the deal with Ronaldo will “put Valladolid on the map.”
“This is an important step for the growth of the club,” the club president said.
Ronaldo, who played at Barcelona and Real Madrid during his career, won World Cups with Brazil in 1994 and 2002. He became a successful businessman after retiring, owning companies and managing players.
He said he will be fully committed to his new project.
“What do you think? That I’ll buy a club and then go on vacation?” Ronaldo said. “There’s a lot of work to do, you have to stay close. I’ll be as committed as possible, but there is a management team in place and I’m very happy with it.”
He said there’s a lot to handle after “hasty” negotiations to finalize the club’s take over. Ronaldo and the club were in talks during the offseason and the agreement reportedly wasn’t completed until last week.
“Little by little we will plan everything so this club can aspire to great things and grow as much as possible,” he said. “This city and this club have a lot of potential.”
Valladolid opened with a 0-0 draw at Girona, lost to defending champion Barcelona 1-0 and drew 0-0 at Getafe. It’s next game is against Alaves.
“From now on we will focus on planning for the future, prioritizing the team,” Ronaldo said. “It’s crucial that we keep gaining points so we can remain in the top.”