José Ángel Sánchez, the man who really controls Real Madrid

When we talk about Real Madrid, we think directly of Florentino Pérez. An extremely important and respected figure in Spain and around the world, the Spanish businessman is unanimously recognized as an exceptional manager. However, Pérez does not spend his days taking care of his club, far from it. Busy with his other businesses and his company ACS, a construction giant, the Spaniard does not hesitate – and he does not necessarily really have a choice – to delegate. If there is a man who keeps the house running, it is José Ángel Sánchez, Florentino’s right-hand man and yet generally little known to the general public. It must be said that he is extremely low-key and even many Real Madrid fans would be unable to put a face to his name. And this, while he has been at the club for more than twenty years. It was in 2000, for Pérez’s first term at the head of the club, that he arrived to manage the club’s marketing sector, after experiences in the world of video games. Then, little by little, he gained power and importance in the club, remaining even during the changes of presidency, until taking the cap of general manager.

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The real boss?

Often, when we talk about transfer window rumors concerning Real Madrid, we can read phrases like ‘Florentino Pérez wants to sign so and so’ or ‘Florentino Pérez’s offer for so and so player’. But in fact, Florentino Pérez is very little involved in the transfer window of his club, and he only comes on the scene to manage the files. galactic, like that of Kylian Mbappé or Eden Hazard and Cristiano Ronaldo. On the other hand, it is Sanchez who takes care of slightly less publicized but almost equally important arrivals such as those of Toni Kroos, Thibaut Courtois or Fede Valverde. Often, well helped by Juni Calafat, the club’s nugget scout with a monstrous network in South America. He has a very important voice internally, in an organization chart where there is no sporting director to speak of, and if Sánchez feels the club needs a player, he has free rein to move on. stock.

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The lively and tumultuous daily life of a club of this size is YAS who manages it, whether we are talking about the transfer window or even other issues related to the management of player contracts, institutional relations or the construction of technical and medical staff. If there is a man who makes rain or shine in Madrid, it is him. It is for example he who takes care of the various meetings related to the European Super League project, who regularly negotiates with La Liga for discussions concerning TV rights or new rules to be put in place, just as he took responsibility to reject the CVC project of La Liga, and would have even managed to convince Barça to do the same. This shows how enormous his influence is, in his club but even on Spanish football in general.

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The same vision

It is also Sánchez who is behind the new recruitment policy of the club from the Spanish capital, which began many years ago, aiming to recruit young players from around the world rather than insisting on stars. . And Real Madrid are already reaping the rewards of this more than successful bet, with players like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Fede Valverde having been decisive in the club’s recent successes. Some are used to saying that a football club cannot be managed like a multinational, since there are a lot of components specific to this sport to take into account. However, this is not the opinion of José Ángel Sánchez, nor of Pérez. If the two men work so well hand in hand and the second has total confidence in his deputy, it is because they have the same vision and the same delusions of grandeur, and intend to continue to make Real Madrid a company which crushes everything on the sporting level, but also outside. The common goal is to continue to make Real Madrid a machine for winning titles and generating income.

The few people who know him also describe a rather cold man, rather fond of power and money, and with a hell of an ego. Rather consistent, given what is described above. When it comes to football and business, YAS don’t do feelings. If a player does not want to extend, there is no question of kneeling in front of him to convince him. In 2018, for example, it was he who managed the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, raising his voice against Jorge Mendes and demanding an offer of 100 million euros to agree to sell the Portuguese star. It was also he who took care of tense files like those of Iker Casillas or Sergio Ramos, not giving in to their demands in the discussions for a new contract despite their status as a monument of the club. If Real Madrid have a reputation for ending their stories with their legends badly, it’s largely because of YAS.

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Successes, but also mistakes

Even though Real Madrid has surveyed the trophies, its management has sometimes made a number of blunders. José Ángel Sánchez has thus been singled out by Madrid public opinion on several occasions in many cases. It was he who pushed for Rafa Benitez to take charge of the team in June 2015. With the success that we know, the Spaniard having been relieved of his duties in mid-season, giving way to Zinedine Zidane. That summer, there was also the burofax affair and the failed transfer of David de Gea because of documents not sent in time. Many also pointed the finger when FIFA banned the reigning European champion from recruiting in 2016 following irregularities in the transfer of underage players. In 2016, he was also close to losing his job because of the Bettoni affair. The latter did not yet have the diplomas to practice as Zidane’s assistant, and Real Madrid finally got away with it without major consequences.

The former SEGA player has also been at the heart of certain scandals, in particular in the mid-2010s, when certain leaks pointed out that Sanchez wanted to somehow privatize the club by putting an end to this operation of socios, where the leaders must return Accounts to supporters. And thus be able to manage the club like any multinational, answering only to shareholders. There was also a murky commission affair with a former club sponsor, the bookmaker Bwinwhich earned him a lot of criticism, so much so that often, internally, Pérez was one of the few men with responsibility at the club to defend him. “He is the best manager there is and will be in the history of football”summed up Florentino Pérez himself in an interview with The Chiringuito. It should also be noted that there has never been, at least according to what may appear in the press, any conflict or clash between the two men. And given the recent successes of the club, we imagine that YAS risk of having a dedicated office in the Bernabéu offices for some time to come…

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