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When is the Europa League draw?

Europa League
By ESPN Staff

Perez vows to take Real Madrid back to the top

Florentino Perez has officially confirmed he would be re-running for the Real Madrid presidency with the promise of a ''spectacular project'' to get the Spanish giants back to the elite of world football.

Perez was Madrid president for six highly eventful years from 2000-2006, during which time the club won two Primera Division titles and the Champions League, and was characterised by the famous 'Galacticos' policy.

That policy saw Madrid sign a host of superstar players such as Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo, and Perez today hinted his campaign bid could follow a similar pattern - although he refused to name any names.

''We are working towards and we will work to create a spectacular project, and that is to make Real Madrid the best club in the world once more,'' said Perez, who is considered the favourite to win the election.

''We want to clean the image of the club and become leaders in Europe.

''A club like Real Madrid needs to have several of the best players in the world and even though I can't discuss names today, we have a spectacular project on the sporting side.''

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka are two of the names that have been closely linked with a move to Madrid over the last few years, and media speculation in Spain suggests they will be at the top of Perez's wanted list this year as well.

When asked about Manchester United winger Ronaldo at a press conference at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid, Perez would only commit himself to saying: ''Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world.''

As for AC Milan midfielder Kaka, Perez was similarly vague, saying: ''I'm an intimate friend of (Milan vice-president) Adriano Galliani and when we meet up we always have a good chat - and we also talk about football.''

The Madrid-born businessman promised to reveal more when he officially launches his campaign later this month, but says his plan is to build a side which can compete with arch rivals Barcelona in Spain, and English sides Manchester United and Chelsea in Europe.

Madrid have failed to get beyond the last 16 of the Champions League in any of the last five years, and although they have been Primera Division champions for the last two seasons, they look certain to end this campaign empty-handed - while Barca chase an historic trophy treble.

''Barcelona are having a magnificent season, but that is motivation for me because I want to make Madrid great again,'' he said. ''I want us to be the leader in Europe, to compete with teams like Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea.

''We have seen that Barcelona and Manchester United have played the best football in Europe this year - and that's the level we have to get to.''


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