Perez rules himself out of Real Madrid elections

May 30, 2006

MADRID, May 30 (Reuters) - Former president Florentino Perez has ruled himself out of the Real Madrid presidential election, but said the club members still believed in him.

"I can't stand for reasons I have already given but if I stood again I would win. I would rekindle the dreams of before," Perez told a news conference on Tuesday.

Perez quit at the end of February after six years at the helm and was famous for his policy of signing big-name players such as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham.

When he left he said the club needed a change of direction and that the team needed to regain their desire to win.

He refused to be drawn on who he would be backing in the July 2 election and denied that he had lists with the members details which could help prospective candidates.

"Everyone knows I don't have these lists and the accusations are not true," Perez added.

"I have a right to say who I will support and will wait until every candidate has made his presentation. But it is the the members who must decide their future."

A presidential election was called after the board ousted Perez's successor Fernando Martin after only two months.

Former world rally champion Carlos Sainz and construction magnate Juan Miguel Villar Mir presented their joint bid on Monday.

Four other candidates are expected to join the race: former president Lorenzo Sanz, Spanish businessman Juan Palacios, lawyer and economist Arturo Baldasano and dissident director Ramon Calderon.

Real Madrid finished second in the Primera Liga to end their third successive season without a major trophy, their worst run of form in more than 50 years.