After successfully elevating Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) to the top echelon of Asean football, club owner HRH Tunku Ismail of Johor is seeking new challenges, as the news of a possible change of ownership of La Liga side Valencia CF became intense.

Southeast Asian and Spanish press reported that the Johor crown prince has considered a takeover of Valencia from its current owner, a Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim, known as a good acquaintance of HRH Tunku Ismail.

This was sparked based on the crown prince’s Instagram stories that foreshadowed his intention for a new challenge and displaying the Spanish outfit’s economic value.

“First, I am not a businessman but a prince. Second, money does not motivate me; glory and creating history are. Thirdly, it is an open secret that I love football very much,” he posted on the social media platform.

“Fourth, I am not new in football as I have brought JDT from a relegation-struggler into a dominating victor. In eight years, I have won 16 championships; we are the biggest side in Southeast Asia, and among the biggest in Asia. Fifth, I desire to expand my empire, spread my wings and ready to take on a new challenge.”

He also shared data by Consultancy Europa that disclosed Valencia’s enterprising value worth €408 million.

“And finally, I am not keen on changing your club logo or tradition. As mentioned earlier, I am a prince not a businessman. I am here to reach glory, victory and create history.

“What Valencia needs is someone who loves football, hungry for success and understands the club at its core. Our first action is to get people who really understand football into the club,” he concluded.

In 2019, rumours first sparked as the crown prince and Peter Lim were spotted in a restaurant at Turin, Italy, seemingly in a meeting to discuss taking Valencia into part of his football empire, alongside JDT.

If the takeover materialises, HRH Tunku Ismail will become among Southeast Asia’s big names to own top European clubs.

Southeast Asian tycoons who already made history with such clubs are Malaysians Tan Sri Vincent Tan (Cardiff City, KV Kortrijk, FK Sarajevo), Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Ruben Gnanalingam (Queens Park Rangers); Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir (Inter Milan, FC United), and Thailand’s Srivaddhanaprabha family (Leicester City) and Dejphon Chansiri (Sheffield Wednesday).

THE BRUNEIAN | KUALA LUMPUR

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