Cristiano Ronaldo Reportedly Told Team-Mates He Was Leaving Before UCL Final

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid with UEFA Champions League trophy, Coupe des clubs Champions Europeens during the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool on May 26, 2018 at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly advised his team-mates he would be leaving the club weeks before the UEFA Champions League final.

According to Jose Felix Diaz of Marca, Ronaldo had made it clear he was seeking a new challenge after the game in Kiev, in which Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to secure their third Champions League triumph in a row.

"Zinedine Zidane's exit means Ronaldo's potential departure has taken a backseat for the time being, but it is still an issue, and some of his team-mates consider that he has already played his last match in the white of Real Madrid," Diaz noted. "Those in the club's hierarchy, meanwhile, are calmer about the situation, even if they're also angry at his attitude."

In the aftermath of the game against Liverpool, the Portugal international made comments that suggested he wasn't content with life in the Spanish capital.

"In the next few days, I'll give an answer to the fans," he said to beIN Sports (h/t BBC Sport). "It was beautiful to be at Real Madrid. The future of any Madrid player is not important; we have just made history."

Ronaldo may not have scored in the final against Liverpool, but he remains a crucial player for Los Blancos. As these numbers from OptaJose show, he's deadly in front of goal:

Even at 33 years old, there aren't many signs of him slowing down, either. After Zidane's exit from the manager's seat, Real Madrid will surely want to keep their talismanic forward around.

If they are dead set on having Ronaldo at the club next season, then there's little the player will be able to do. The Portugal international is tied to a long-term contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Diaz wrote the forward's release clause stands at €1 billion (£870 million).

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26, 2018. (Photo by Isabella BONOTTO / Update Images Press
ISABELLA BONOTTO/Getty Images

While it's difficult to see any side paying that kind of money for Ronaldo, it's also unlikely many teams would be able to afford Real's demands for arguably their greatest-ever player. After all, at 33, it's questionable just how long Ronaldo has left at the top level.

As Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News noted, it's clear Madrid and plenty of Madridistas are keen to see Ronaldo stick around too:

The adulation for Ronaldo is understandable. Not only has he won the Champions League on four occasions with Madrid, but he's also the team's all-time record goalscorer.

From a business perspective, taking a huge fee for a player nearing the twilight of his career may make sense for Madrid, especially if Ronaldo does want to go.

But those in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu will be wary of letting an icon of the modern game leave. After all, even with all the money in the world, Ronaldo would be almost impossible to replace.

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