THE FORMER club president of Real Madrid, Lorenzo Sanz, has died at the age of 76 after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Taken to hospital on Tuesday after experiencing a fever for more than a week, he tested positive for the illness and was placed in intensive care.
However it was confirmed on Saturday night that Sanz had died.
In the week, one of the decorating businessman’s three sons confirmed his condition had deteriorated with the diabetic suffering kidney failure.
Sanz, born in Madrid as the eldest of ten siblings, was a director at Real for a decade after joining in 1985 and was elected club president in 1995 – a position he held for five years.
Famously, the Spaniard oversaw the end of an enormous drought for the LaLiga giants in the Champions League.
Without a title since 1966, Real claimed two titles during his tenure, beating Juventus in the 1998 final before downing Valencia in Paris two years later.
Iker Casillas lead the tributes to the former club chief, tweeting: “RIP President, a big hug to family and friends in these difficult times. And a very special memory for those who have also left us because of this fatal virus. Much strength to all.”
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A Real statement read: “Today, we are mourning the loss of a president who dedicated a large part of his life to his great passion: Real Madrid.”
Los Blancos also claimed the 1996/97 LaLiga title during Sanz’s first full season in charge, under the guidance of Fabio Capello.
That was aided by a significant spending spree as the likes of Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf, Davor Suker and Predrag Mijatovic arrived in the Spanish capital.
Sanz famously remarked: “Nobody can prevent me from appearing, like Santiago Bernabeu, in the golden history book of the club,” before facing Florentino Perez in the club elections of 2000 – a vote he lost amid his rival’s pledge to sign Barcelona star Luis Figo.
Repulsed at the “cheap shots at buying votes” he instead told fans he would prioritise a deal for up-and-coming Spanish striker Diego Tristan.
Later in his life, Sanz helmed Andalusian club Malaga for four years having returned to fight for the Madrid presidency again in 2004, losing to Perez.
Part of the Real setup during his reign were sons Paco and Fernando, who also went on to become Malaga president, and his daughter Malula is the wife of ex-defender Michel Salgado while eldest son Lorenzo appeared for the club’s basketball side.
As of Saturday evening, almost 25,000 people had tested positive for coronavirus in Spain with over 1,300 dying from the illness.