Perez returns unopposed as Real president

MADRID - Florentino Perez was returned as president of Real Madrid on Monday with no other candidates standing by the deadline of midnight on Sunday. The three challengers who had been expected to oppose the 62-year-old construction magnate all pulled out and Perez will take office on Monday in a ceremony at the Bernabeu stadium, the club said on their website. Architect of the "Galacticos" policy that brought the likes of Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham to the Bernabeu, Perez has promised to construct a spectacular sporting project but has yet to name any players or the coach he plans to bring in. Spanish media have reported that Villarreal's Manuel Pellegrini is the front runner for the coach's role and Perez has been linked with players including Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery. "It's not just a question of regeneration, we also have to rebuild and revitalise," Perez said in an interview with Sunday's El Pais newspaper, adding that the success this season of treble-winners Barcelona had motivated him to stand. "Real Madrid needs a true revolution which brings back the excitement," he said. "We have to seduce the fans again with a spectacular team based around great players, Spanish, foreign and from the youth academy. And we also have to recover economic strength. "The history of Real Madrid obliges us to always have some of the best players from around the world and from Spain." Under Perez, Real won the Champions League in 2002 and league titles in 2001 and 2003, but he suddenly walked away in February 2006 as the club headed towards a third successive trophy-less season. His successor Ramon Calderon was forced to resign in January following allegations of vote-rigging at the club's general assembly in December.