Who is Peter Lim? The billionaire behind Manchester United legend Gary Neville's role as Valencia manager

 
Joe Hall
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Valencia CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Man of mystery: Peter Lim keeps a low public profile

Peter Lim is the Singaporean billionaire and owner of Valencia responsible for giving Gary Neville his first senior job in football as the Spanish club's new head coach.

Lim has an estimated worth $1.9bn (£1.3bn) having made his fortune through investments in palm oil producers, but in recent years has increased his interest in football having purchased a majority stake in Valencia last season following failed takeover bids for Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Rangers.

Read more: The "Class of '92" join forces with Singaporean billionaire at Salford City FC

His increased involvement in sport has seen him form business partnerships with Neville himself, super-agent Jorge Mendes and even Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Class of '92 connection

Neville and Lim have known each other for over a decade, and can be seen in the below video from 2011 praising the £6m Peter Lim Scholarship for young athletes in Singapore as "absolutely fantastic".

Lim's connection with Neville was solidified last year when the businessman purchased a 50 per cent shareholding in Salford City FC, the club co-owned by five Manchester United former players Neville, brother Phil, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt - collectively known as the Class of '92 group.

At the time the group said: "We have all known Peter for over 10 years, his love of sport, above all football, is well documented. He has an incredible track record in business as well as youth and community engagement."

Lim has also worked with the Class of '92 group on various investment and property projects in Manchester including the £23m Hotel Football project.

Such is the close relationship between the pair that Lim attended the funeral of Neville's father, Neville Neville, earlier this year.

Valencia: A stuttering start

After failing to take over Liverpool with a £320m bid in 2010 and other unsuccessful approaches for clubs including AC Milan, Lim turned his attentions to Spain where he took control of Valencia last year, agreeing to pay off millions in debt and build a new stadium while acquiring 70 per cent of the club.

Yet despite such promising plans and a successful first season which saw Valencia qualify for the Champions League, the La Liga team's fortunes have suffered this campaign.

Gary Neville replaces the dismissed Nuno Espirito Santo, who Lim arranged to take control at the Mestalla before his takeover had even been finalised.

Results have been poor since club president Amadeo Salvo and sporting director Francisco Rufete departed this summer, with much speculation surrounding the influence of another Lim associate - super-agent Jorge Mendes.



Peter Lim's relationship with former Valencia president Amadeo Salvo soured in the summer (Source: Getty)

Jorge Mendes and Cristiano Ronaldo

Lim also owns the image rights to Cristiano Ronaldo, a deal likely facilitated thanks to Lim's relationship with the Real Madrid star's agent Jorge Mendes who first suggested the Singaporean buy Valencia.

Certainly numerous deals at Valencia have been brokered with Mendes' involvement, including the sale of his client Nicolas Otamendi and the purchase of another client Aymen Abdennour as a replacement this summer.

Following the departure of Rufete, chairman Layhoon Chan was forced to insist: "Jorge Mendes is just a friend and he's certainly not the sporting director. We work as a team; we get input from the Nuno (Santo) and Peter Lim."

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