When Ferran Soriano he was economic vice president of FC Barcelona, in a meeting he had with the leaders of Corinthians, in Sao Paulo, in which he conveyed to them the importance of having their own stadium to generate income (the imposing Neo Química Arena, which housed the opening of the 2014 World Cup), He was amazed when he discovered that, at that time, the annual cost of a great Brazilian soccer team was equivalent to what Barça spent on the basketball section.
Today Ferran Soriano is the CEO of the City Group and the executing arm of its unstoppable global expansion: the company that dominates Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan He is already a majority shareholder in seven clubss, has participation in three more, and one externally. Now they are looking for a “flagship” in the Brazilian market, that is, a flagship in South America, which would receive a massive investment to be able to attack, in the medium term, the Brasileirao and the Copa Libertadores.
There have been talks with Bahía, a historic player now in Serie B without the strength to compete with the great Brazilians. And now the Globoesporte portal reported that the City Group has offered 200 million euros to acquire 51% of the shares of the future Public Limited Company that will become Atlético Mineiro, the current champion of the League, Cup and Super Cup. The group of four patrons who inject money into the Galo (which has one of the largest debts in Brazil with 214 million euros) consider the offer low and place the sale price at a minimum of 400 million.
THE ‘CITY’ STAMP ON A BRAZILIAN HISTORIC
The debate is already served. In social networks, the ‘torcida’ of Cruzeiro (club that Ronaldo ‘Fenomeno’ now dominates) laugh because, finally, their eternal rival would dress in blue. Beyond the typical joke of a conversation washed down with beer (Belo Horizonte has the fame of being the world capital of bars), the unknown of the visual identity, the format of the shield and the future name of the entity has already reached the media.
Galo is the club with the most ‘torcedores’ outside the Rio-Sao Paulo axis (7 million fans), champion of the Libertadores (in 2013 with Ronaldinho Gaucho) and with the pride of having as one of its great idols a figure of essential knowledge such as the ‘King’ Reinaldoand his role in activism against the military dictatorship.
With the exception of Red Bull with Bragantino (from a city in São Paulo with only 170,000 inhabitants), the new investors from Botafogo, Vasco da Gama or Cruzeiro himself do not intend to change one iota of the brand and the social positioning of its clubs.
Another aspect that is already generating debate in Brazil is that City will control the entire production chain in the world’s largest export market. Red Bull sells its footballers to the highest bidder, as it demonstrated with Claudinho who went to Zenit, and not to Leipzig, for 15 million euros.
What policy will City adopt, which is a club that attracts young talent in Brazil every year? Last year he signed Kayky, the ‘left-handed Neymar’ from Fluminense, for 10 million euros, already a midfielder Metinho, who went to Troyes for 5 million. And now he is one step away from closing another jewel, savihoprecisely from the Gaul, for 6.5 million euros.