Perez has won the last three presidential elections at the club – in 2009, 2013 and 2017 – without a rival.
This is because of a rule change – implemented under Perez’s regime – to make challengers to the position have to meet several thresholds, including 20 years of experience and presenting 15 percent of the club’s budget – currently a figure equating to €92.5m.
As well as his role at Madrid, Perez is the chairman and CEO of Grupo ACS, a civil engineering company and the largest construction company in Spain, with Forbes claiming he has a net worth of $1.8b.
He has outlined how the club has made a lot of progress under Perez but now needs to change fundamentally, including become a more democratic institution for its members and embracing new ideas.
Riquelme told El Confidencial: “Right now, either the club takes a different direction and professionalises the management to the maximum in order to truly becoming a global club, or there will be problems. And being global is not doing a (pre-season) tour of the United States.
“Santiago Bernabéu laid the foundations of what Real Madrid is. He is, without a doubt, the best president in history. Afterwards, we have had other good presidents and, among all of them, Florentino Pérez has been a catalyst, he has done very good things for the club.
“Perez consolidated Real Madrid 2.0, but the institution needs a change.
“Real Madrid must belong to the members.”
Riquelme is the founder and CEO of Cox Energy, a Spanish company of renewable energies, specifically solar photovoltaic, but is still relatively unknown.
It is unclear if he will have the significant status to challenge Perez for the position of Madrid supremo, but this is a development to keep an eye on going forwards.
Images via El Confidencial