Johor Regent Tunku Ismail to rescue Valencia FC from ruins?

HAVING endured a disastrous 2020/2021 season, ailing Spanish football giant Valencia FC may have found a ‘white knight’ in Johor Regent Tunku Mahkota Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim to lead the club to safety – and eventually to greater heights in the future.

Speculation is rife that Tunku Ismail who is also the Johor Darul Ta’zim FC (JDTFC) owner will be joining the chorus of Malaysian personalities who own foreign football clubs like Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (who co-owns English club Queens Park Rangers or QPR) and Tan Sri Vincent Tan (owner of Cardiff City and Belgian club KV Kortrijk)

“Rumours of the Johor crown prince, a close friend of Valencia owner Peter Lim (a Singaporean), taking over the club were circulating a few years ago, but the interest finally seemingly materialised following his recent Instagram Story post,” Stadium Astro writer Seng Foo pointed out.

The 36 year-old Tunku Ismail has recently posted a series of stories on Instagram that included screenshots of articles about Valencia and even a page that mentioned the club’s value at €408 mil (RM2 bil) alongside a reasoning as to why he is interested in purchasing the club.

“Money does not motivate me. Glory and creating history motivates me,” wrote the Johor Crown Prince in his Instagram posting. “It is not a secret that I love football. I’m very passionate.”

Tunku Ismail added: “I’ve created a Club (JDTFC) 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.”

At the time of writing, Lim has not indicated if he is interested in selling Valencia FC.

According to, he acquired the then debt-ridden Valencia in 2014 but has not been a popular figure, with the club having regularly been forced to sell their top players to reduce the club’s high debts.

The ownership of Valencia has been widely criticised in Spain with popular players Dani Parejo and Rodrigo sold last summer, with the club making no signings to strengthen the squad.

There have been calls for Lim, who is rarely in Valencia, to move aside and sell the club. Since his takeover of Los Che in 2014, Lim has appointed seven coaches.

Los Che have fared miserably this season – currently lying 14th in the Spanish La Liga, five points clear of the drop zone ahead of Friday’s game against Villarreal.

Its coach Javi Gracia is under fire with the team having won just two league games since the start of the year. – March 3, 2021

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