Journalist, businessman and football club owner. Not the combination you expect to see on someone’s CV. Except for FC Cartagena’s Paco Belmonte.
The 41-year-old hired himself as president of the Murcia-based side in May 2016, a year after spending €90,000 from his savings to buy the financial-stricken team.
Just 16 months later, Belmonte was receiving offers of €6 million, a fee he would share with his partner, Leganes’ majority shareholder Felipe Moreno. Yet, his footballing pedigree has roots in the media, as well as, in England and Hungary.
Journalist to sporting director
After leaving his job at Murcia newspaper La Verdad in 2008, he has embarked on a journey, advising football clubs in various roles.
Belmonte started as a sporting director at Segunda B clubs Atletico Ciudad and Sangonera Atletico, but both suffered economic problems.
After the former dissolved in 2010, he became an advisor to English Championship side Sheffield United and Ferencvaros TC in Hungary’s top flight.
That same year, he joined the Leganes backroom staff as sports director, holding the position for two years, before starting to look for a new project, one that he found at Cartagena.
Owner and President Belmonte
Per La Verdad’s interview in 2017, Belmonte invested his savings into Efesé in April 2015, stopping them from ending up in financial ruin.
While he could sell the club for over 66 times his original investment, with only a small portion going to his partner Moreno, the Cartagena owner could not imagine doing nothing.
Belmonte works 13 hours a day, gets little sleep and relies on his dogs, Lega and Perla, to keep him calm and prevent him from vomiting due to pressure and stress, but would not change how his life has planned out.
There is no fancy mansion or lifestyle, as he rents and has little time to settle down, nor has he had more than three days to take a holiday.
But Belmonte has rescued Cartagena, and now they are challenging to return to the Segunda Division for the first time since 2012.