Thursday 23 February 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo poised to leave Real Madrid in the summer

Matt Law

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) gives a bib to Real Madrid's new French coach Zinedine Zidane during his first training session
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) gives a bib to Real Madrid's new French coach Zinedine Zidane during his first training session

Cristiano Ronaldo is still expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, despite the appointment of Zinedine Zidane to replace Rafa Benitez as manager.

The news will come as a boost to Manchester United, although Paris Saint-Germain remain favourites to land Ronaldo in the summer.

Benitez had been open to the prospect of Ronaldo leaving the Bernabeu as he attempted to create a more team-orientated philosophy at the club.

Zidane has now taken over from Benitez and revealed his plans to start with Ronaldo, Bale and Karim Benzema in attack but that does not change the fact Ronaldo will most likely be allowed to go at the end of the season.

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Although Bale was left devastated by the departure of Benitez and will reassess his future if his position under Zidane changes, the Welshman remains the club’s key man in the eyes of president Florentino Perez.

Zidane will now work to prove to Bale that he also has the full backing of the new Real manager. If the Welshman did decide he wanted to leave the club, then United would not be the favourites to bring him back to the Premier League with Chelsea and Manchester City also interested.

United currently stand a far better chance of re-signing Ronaldo than capturing Bale, but the Old Trafford club will have to see off the financial power of PSG to do so.

The Portuguese turns 31 next month and has been troubled by knee problems over recent years, which will no doubt contribute to Real’s willingness to listen to offers.

A Real insider told Telegraph Sport: “Out of Bale and Ronaldo, Ronaldo is the player expected to leave the club. Bale is still seen as the future, whereas Ronaldo’s best years may now be behind him.

"PSG are desperate to sign him and would be favourites at the moment, but United will no doubt try.”

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Zidane is expected to make Chelsea forward Eden Hazard is main transfer priority of the summer.

Former Real manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo has claimed Ronaldo must stop trying to run the dressing-room under new manager Zidane.

“Zidane was a leader in the dressing room when he was a player and Cristiano should realize that now there is a person with leadership and understanding of the game in charge,” said Luxemburgo.

“The changing room belongs to the players only up to a certain point, beyond that it is the manager who’s in control. Cristiano has to understand that he isn’t the manager, Zidane is.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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