There are mixed messages coming out of Real Madrid these days.
On Monday, club president Florentino Perez told Spanish program Punto Pelota he believed star attacker Cristiano Ronaldo would “end his professional career at Real Madrid,” adding that the side would soon “win la Decima (a 10th European Cup) with Cristiano.” (Goal.com)
On Tuesday, however, Portuguese publication A Bola claimed Ronaldo would not be renewing his contract, which expires in 2015, as the 28-year-old felt he had been treated poorly by the Madrid board. (Marca)
That same day, his seven-bedroom house in La Finca appeared listed on the real estate website Promora.com with an asking price of €5.4 million, reigniting rumours of a summer transfer to Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain. (Eurosport)
Naturally, Ronaldo may have merely decided to sell a property and buy a new one, but given his persistent refusal to agree to a new pact at Madrid as his current one enters its second-to-last year, there would seem to be more to his move than merely a change of location in the city’s suburbs.
Ever since the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year revealed he was “sad” and unhappy with “people in the club” last September, the football world has been on something of a “Ronaldo watch,” waiting for either the player or club to budge in what has become a high-profile, if increasingly mysterious, impasse.
Jose Mourinho’s exit will have done nothing to make him happier.
At times, as both men grappled with what they felt to be nominal levels of affection from both Madrid supporters and club hierarchy, you got the feeling they were one another’s only ally in a situation dominated by a very Madridista establishment.
It all proved too much for Mourinho, who has since returned to Chelsea on a five-year deal, and it’s not inconceivable that the former manager’s best player could be on his way out of the Bernabeu as well.
Madrid are about to enter a season of transition, and with Ronaldo soon to hit the latter section of his prime years, he may be of the mind that the time is right to seek a final challenge, a last big payday.
Of course, Madrid’s asking price for a player they acquired for £80 million will almost certainly prove an obstacle, and even if they reduced their valuation to £60 million, it’s hard to see United coming in for him. A player-plus-cash swap would be more realistic if he was to return to Old Trafford, but before that happens, Madrid would no doubt receive substantial offers from the likes of PSG and Monaco, or even Chelsea.
The only thing we can safely assume at this point is that Ronaldo’s world, like that of his club’s, is in transition. That he is delaying a new contract and putting his house for sale points to a player more unsettled than settled, and there will surely be more developments on this file before the end of the summer.
We don’t know if he’ll begin the upcoming season at Real Madrid. The thing is, he probably doesn’t know either.