Before he reached his chair at the last round table of the World Football Summit and he was presented as "the new president of the board of directors of Real Valladolid", Ronaldo was intercepted by the illusionist Jorge Blass on the stage of the Goya theater in Madrid. "Everything Ronaldo touches turns to gold," he said as he seemed to light a piece of paper on fire that, when it was unfolded, turned out to be a 50-euro bill. "Incredible," said Ronaldo, "I'm going to need it a lot." Blass was not over. He doubled the ticket again: "When you want to turn this into more, you just have to say Valladolid and snap your fingers." Upon opening it, the ticket was 500. "Mother," said the Brazilian, who reached out to take it. But neither Blass gave him the money nor Ronaldo was still president of the board of directors of Valladolid. The appointment took place on September 28, three days after that talk, "Ronaldo Nazário and the Real Valladolid project." On the 25th Carlos Suarez, president, who sells 51% of the shares, joined the stage; Ronaldo, who buys them; and Julio Senn, advisor to the Brazilian, managing partner of Senn Ferrero Asociados, an office that works with whoever buys and with whom it sells. The actors of an operation that has unleashed an intense intrigue for who buys and in which they appear judicial clouds for who sells.
The main question, the origin of the money, Senn attacked her in her first speech without being asked about her: "There has been a lot of talk that Ronaldo has gone shopping with different investors and I can guarantee that what he has done is bet personally for this project. A football club is a very high risk for an individual. He considers that he can carry it forward, "he said.
The size of that risk had already begun to explore Ronaldo months ago. In the spring of 2017, the Brazilian and Suarez met at a lunch in the Emilio Moro winery organized by its president, José Moro, later Vice President of Valladolid and Suarez's lender, and now threatens in court. According to Suarez, at that meal, with the team in Segunda, the former soccer player asked him: "He told me he was thinking of buying a club. I told him the situation is this … The debt was high, and he said that we were waiting to see what happened, "recalls Suarez.
Until this summer. The rise to First increased the money of the television, which has allowed to pay almost all the debt with the Treasury (from 19 to 3 million euros), and Ronaldo agreed to pay Suárez 21 million for 51.05% of the shares. The Brazilian also wanted to talk about the origin of that amount: "It's my money," he said on September 21 in an interview in The North of Castile.
Operation to the limit
In addition to the intrigue, the imminence of the operation aroused other appetites. According to a source from the Brazilian's environment, several investors have approached offering financing. Among them, Ben Oldman Partners, a vulture fund with which the people of Ronaldo had conversations. Founded in 2009 by the Spanish Isaac Benzaquen in Tel Aviv, Ben Oldman is headquartered in Luxembourg, and has offices in Milan and Madrid.
The same source assures that, despite the conversations held, the Brazilian has not resorted to the fund: "They have offered financing, but the operation has been done with 100% of own funds. We have not signed any loan, "he says. This newspaper has contacted several times with Ben Oldman, who did not want to comment.
There was another fund, in this Chinese case, that was interested in those days by the operation, although not to finance it, but to buy Suarez his shares, the 58.09% of the club. But the course was another. Contributed to the mayor of the city, Oscar Puente, PSOE: "I gave my opinion to the president, who has always had me informed. The choice of the Chinese seemed less convenient to the city. This is an operation not only club, but city, "says the councilman, who opened the doors of the consistory on September 3 to present the Suárez-Ronaldo agreement, an act in which he also served as master of ceremonies.
Suárez, president since May 2001, took most of the shares in July 2011. It was a bold move: he bought 58.09% from three companies, although he did not have the 4.5 million required. He agreed to 15 annual payments and for the first one he received the help of his father-in-law, Álvaro Urgoiti, a director of Banco Gallego who died in 2012. He has needed help on more occasions. After his father-in-law, on occasion he was given an acquaintance of this, José Luis Losada, also ex-counselor of the Galician, even to pay payroll, as they remember in the club. The purchase has taken Suárez to the limit. Drowning, in 2016 he asked Losada for help finding a buyer.
In May 2017, weeks after the talk with Ronaldo, and without a buyer in sight, Suarez, who had completed about half of the payments for the shares, needs 1.5 million euros to avoid the club's decline.
Losada lends him a million. The other means is provided by José Moro, the organizer of that meal and Ronaldo's old friend, who still has a small stake in his Cepa 21 warehouses. The loan agreement includes a purchase option (10% for the Losada million and 5 % by means of Moro) or a surplus value in case of sale.
The owner of Nexaca
When arriving 2018 everything accelerates. In February, another Chinese fund presents an offer for Suárez's shares, but discards it. In April, Mexican businessman Ernesto Tinajero, owner of Nexaca, appears with Suarez an exclusivity agreement with a firm offer very similar to that of the Chinese fund and the promise of investing more funds to shore up the club. What does not contemplate Tinajero is the permanence of Suarez as president later. "And he chooses Ronaldo, who allows him to stay," they complain from the Mexican's surroundings; he chooses not the best for the club, but for him ".
Despite the exclusivity agreement, effective until July 31, according to the environment of Tinajero "Ronaldo was fluttering all the time." Senn and the Brazilian have been employed in setting the beginning of August as the beginning of contacts. In any case, from the Brazilian environment, they maintain that the agreement with Tinajero was too "ethereal".
In any case, there is a source of concern for Suarez, since the Mexican businessman is considering taking legal action against him. Also Moro and Losada, according to sources close to them. With the negotiations on track with the Mexican, he returned the 1.5 million, although they pretended to exercise their purchase option for 15% of the club.
In the middle of this tangle, Suarez cooled the operation with Tinajero and opted for Ronaldo. "We did not reach an agreement. It was not about money. My lawyers recommended me to discard it, "Suárez explains. Their lawyers belong to the same office as Ronaldo's, who have placed Javier Ferrero, managing partner, as secretary of the Valladolid's board of directors. "The operation goes faster because of the trust. As they had been advising and there was a due dilligence [la que encargó Tinajero antes de comprar], they already knew that the situation of the club was that it was technically sound, "says Suárez, who attributes to Senn the architecture of an operation with uncertainties for the vendor.
The Brazilian's environment ensures that he is not worried about the legal mess that appears. "That's Suárez", they say. When last September 25 Blass met Ronaldo before his round table, before dazzling him with the tickets, he asked: "Have you ever seen magic?". The Brazilian, who rode this tiger while still an ambassador of Real Madrid, replied: "I've done some." And the audience laughed.