Juan Sartori has been chatting about his passion for football and his desire to make Sunderland great again. The highly successful Uruguayan businessman is married to Ekaterina Rybolovleva, who is the owner of the Monte Carlo based football club, AS Monaco FC, via a trust in her name, although her Russian billionaire father, Dmitry Rybolovlev, serves as the president.
When asked why he purchased a 20% stake in SAFC, Sartori said: "First of all, because it is something I always wanted to do. Second because Sunderland is the dream girl! You always want something like this when you think about a football club. Dedicated and loyal fans, a club with a lot of history and infrastructure that has been put together over many years with a top-tier academy, one of the best stadiums in England. All of this combined meant that this was something that was impossible to resist. If you like football, if you want to build something successful for the long-term and especially if you can do that with people who you respect and you are friends with like Charlie and Stewart. We will put the time, the connections, the know-how, that we have to try and assist Stewart - who is the ultimate beneficial owner of the club - to try and make the best decisions on the football and business side and build a team that makes it successful. One night, it was around 1am or 2am - when Stewart is usually still working - he rang to tell me ‘I have this new opportunity. It is better and bigger than anything we were dreaming of before, but it is going to require a lot of work and I was thinking about proposing you join this Sunderland acquisition’. It took me one minute to say ‘I’m in!’ We see a lot of potential, all the infrastructure, the basis, is here but obviously something is missing, or the club wouldn’t be in this situation. I have been playing football since I could walk and still play a few times a week - it is an ongoing passion! I am too old to continue dreaming about a career on the pitch but owning a club gives you a similar emotion, pride in success and winning. I want to combine the passion with the successful project. Everybody is motivated by the challenge, we all understand it is not going to be easy and we are going to have to make some hard decisions, particularly in the restructuring and turnaround phase. But we are unbelievably excited by the potential and the opportunity and the capacity we have of succeeding, otherwise we wouldn't be here."
Juan Sartori was born in Montevideo (Uruguay). He was educated in Paris and Switzerland, graduating in 2002, with a degree in Business and Economics.
Meanwhile, the boss, Jack Ross, who also studied economics at degree level, has admitted that Lee Cattermole was fit to play against Charlton, but he decided to play 16-year-old Bali Mumba ahead of him, presumably because he’s a much better footballer. “It was just a decision based on what I felt was right for that game, I always assess players individually and us as a team and what I thought was right for us on the pitch. Nothing more than that. Bali Mumba wasn’t a risk for me. It maybe was seen as a gamble, he was playing because we had limited options. He deserved to play. Was he outstanding? No. Was he good? Yes. Was he responsible? Yes. Even towards the end of the game, he took a quick free-kick and gave it away, but his reaction was good. He wanted the ball again. He has a brilliant future ahead of him. He will get better, he is a really good lad and wants to learn, he should be very proud of his performance. To do that, at that age, was terrific.”