UCFB student Riccardo Polacco recently attended the World Football Summit in Madrid to hear from some of the leading names in the global football industry. Here, the BA (Hons) International Football Business student tells us about the experience, his highlights from the event and how the knowledge gained will help him going forward with his career in the football industry…

Over 90 speakers, 160 clubs, 100 journalists and 2,000 delegates from all four corners of the globe recently gathered in Madrid to talk, listen and discover at one of the most prestigious football summits in the world.

Throughout two incredible days at the World Football Summit – hosted in the atmospheric Teatro Goya in the Spanish capital – the likes of Ronaldo (the Brazilian one!), Belgium manager Roberto Martinez and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli gave invaluable insights into their careers, emerging trends in the football industry and its future going forward.

Agnelli gave delegates the opportunity to hear from the very top of one of the true super clubs of the game, as well as hear about Juve’s business development and sustainability model that is allowing the club to dominate the Italian league and threaten in Europe once again.

Similarly, from a boardroom perspective, two-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo explored the reasons that saw him become the majority owner at La Liga side Real Valladolid recently and his ambition to make the Spanish club a global brand.

The two-day event gave attendees the opportunity to immerse themselves in a variety of hot topics within the football industry, such as the importance of competitive balance, the challenges and opportunities in the Asian market, the impact of financial fair play – led by the Head of Sports at KMPG, Andrea Sartori – women’s empowerment through football and digital transformation.

During the event there was also a roundtable discussion with a number of the game’s leading figures, including Martinez, former Real Madrid player and manager Jorge Valdano, and FC Porto legend Vitor Baia, which addressed the choices players face at the end of their career.

Speaking to UCFB after the event, Riccardo explained: “Overall the three different stages, workshop area, expo lounge, networking zone, professional meeting space and corporate outdoor lounge made this event a fantastic environment to learn and to grow my knowledge and contact list within the football industry.”