Leeds United have added former Real Madrid strategist Ivan Bravo to their board of directors, bringing a long-time ally of co-owner Andrea Radrizzani to Elland Road.
Bravo has taken up a consultancy role with the club following months of speculation linking him with the job of sporting director at Leeds.
The Spaniard is a close associate of Radrizzani’s and was widely tipped to involve himself at Elland Road following Radrizzani’s purchase of a 50 per cent stake in United from Massimo Cellino in January.
Bravo is currently director general of the Aspire Academy for Sporting Excellence in Qatar and will continue to hold that post alongside his new commitments at Leeds.
He moved to Qatar in 2011, taking charge of major project set up to improve the performance of the country’s footballers ahead of the World Cup in 2022, having previously worked as Real Madrid’s director of strategy. The Spanish giants employed him for seven years between 2003 and 2010.
Bravo, who attended a number of Leeds’ Championship fixtures while Radrizzani’s investment was pending, said: “Leeds United is a club steeped in prestige with an extremely proud fanbase and I’m thrilled to join the board of directors.
“I hope my experience gained across the game will add value for the club and I look forward to working with the ownership, management and the whole team to take Leeds United forward, on and off the pitch.”
Bravo’s appointment to the Elland Road board is the first significant move made by Radrizzani since the Italian businessman bought into Leeds at the turn of the year.
Radrizzani, whose investment was made through his company Aser Group Holding, was named as a club director in January along with two other Aser employees, Andre Tegner and Feng Ze Yeh.
Feng Ze Yeh is to resign following Bravo’s appointment, leaving Cellino, Daniel Arty and Niccolo Barattieri as the other members of a six-man board.
The recruitment of Bravo comes ahead of a summer in which Radrizzani could seek to buy out Cellino’s remaining 50 per cent stake and acquire full control of United.
His deal with Cellino is understood to include a clause giving him the right to complete a 100 per cent takeover when this season ends. Cellino has retained a significant shareholding at Leeds since buying into the club in 2014.
Radrizzani said Bravo would offer “a wealth of knowledge and expertise gained from leading roles at the very highest levels of the game”, saying: “I look forward to working closely with Ivan as the club comes together to build on the progress achieved this season.”
Leeds are clinging to the hope of promotion this term after dropping out of the Championship’s play-off zone with two games to play and the club continue to face a clamour of calls for an extension to the contract held by head coach Garry Monk.
Monk’s initial deal expires at the end of the campaign and while United have the option to extend it by 12 months, the club are under pressure to strike a more long-term agreement on the back of his impressive first year in the job.