Football: Johor crown prince signals interest in buying Peter Lim’s Valencia

JOHOR BAHRU: There are signs that Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim may be interested in buying over Spanish La Liga club Valencia, currently owned by Singapore businessman Peter Lim.

Tunku Ismail posted a series of Instagram stories on Tuesday (Mar 2), including screenshots of Valencia’s history and its estimated value – €408 million (US$493 million). 

He then posted a short statement, in which the 36-year-old highlighted that he was not a businessman but a prince. 

He added that money does not motivate him but “glory and creating history” does. 

“I’m not new in football,” the crown prince wrote. 

“I’ve created a club from every year fighting relegation to a dominating champion. I’ve won 16 titles in eight years. We are the biggest in Southeast Asia and one of the biggest in Asia,” he said,

He added: “I want to expand my empire, spread my wings, and go for new challenges. I’m not someone who will change your club logo or tradition … I’m here for glory, success and history.”  

“What does Valencia need? You need someone who knows about football, hungry for success, passionate and understands how big Valencia is as a club.”

“First step. We need football people in the club. Full stop,” he added. 

He currently owns Malaysia Super League giants Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT). In October 2020, JDT won its seventh consecutive league title. 

READ: Valencia had stringent precautionary measures, but still not a surprise players tested positive for COVID-19, says club president Anil Murthy

Singaporean businessman Peter Lim (C), owner of Spanish La Liga football team Valencia and his wife

Singaporean businessman Peter Lim (C), owner of Spanish La Liga football team Valencia and his wife Cherie Lim (R) speak with Valencia’s president Anil Murthy AFP/THOMAS SAMSON

Billionaire Mr Lim, who has been criticised recently by Valencia supporters, has not indicated whether he is interested in selling the club. 

Since Mr Lim took over in 2014, Valencia has qualified for the Champions League three times and reached the Europa League semi-final in 2019.

During this period, Mr Lim has appointed seven different coaches. 

READ: Commentary – Peter Lim’s romance with owning a football club appears in trouble

There have been calls for Mr Lim to sell the club after Valencia sold key players Dani Parejo and Rodrigo last summer. Observers said that there have been no adequate replacements. 

Current head coach Javi Gracia is under fire having won just two league games since the start of 2021.

Valencia are currently 14th in the 20-team league, five points clear of the relegation zone with 13 games to play.

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