Real Madrid won’t allow Cristiano Ronaldo to leave in anger.
A shocking transfer rumor emerged Friday, claiming the soccer superstar wants to leave Real Madrid this summer. Portuguese newspaper A Bola broke the story, and every major media outlet in Europe (and many others globally) ran similar reports, having been briefed by sources close to Ronaldo.
The legal proceedings Spain’s tax authorities launched against Ronaldo are cited as the main reason he wants to leave. Ronaldo insists he always has acted lawfully and reportedly is angry about being portrayed as a criminal and concerned at the negative effect the tax-fraud case has on his image.
But The Telegraph’s Jason Burt reported Saturday the four-time FIFA Player of the Year’s agents have told interested clubs he seeks a fresh challenge after eight years at Real Madrid.
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are believed to be most interested in and capable of acquiring Ronaldo, while Juventus, Inter Milan and any number of Chinese or MLS clubs could make improbable bids for his services.
Other analysts claim Ronaldo could be angling for a new contract, despite having signed a new one last November which made him the highest-paid player in the world.
Real Madrid responds
Melchor Ruiz of Spanish radio station COPE reported more details later Friday, claiming Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, told Real Madrid how Ronaldo feels and informed them other clubs have made overtures to the player with hopes of enticing him away.
But Real Madrid, the two-time defending European champion, won’t allow Ronaldo to dictate terms of his potential exit. Club president Florentino Perez wants Real Madrid and Ronaldo to give the situation time for the “heat” to dissipate and allow things to return to normal.
However, if Ronaldo’s desire to leave Real Madrid is truly “irreversible,” as some outlets have described it, the team will calmly negotiate his departure, prevent Alvaro Morata from joining Manchester United and accelerate its pursuit of Monaco’s teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe.
Burt reports Real Madrid might be willing to sell Ronaldo for a record fee of €150 million (£131 million/$168 million).
Perez plans to address Ronaldo’s transfer rumor Monday on Spanish radio station Ondo Cero.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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