Monaco to launch €100m Ronaldo bid
Nouveau-riche big-spenders offer star £330k a week
Monaco are ready to make a world record €100m (£85m) bid for Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo has just two years left on his contract at Madrid and is known to be disillusioned with life at the Santiago Bernabeu, at the end of his fourth season there.
The Ligue 1 club, funded by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, have already spent over £110m this summer on Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid and James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho of Porto. They are now prepared to make their boldest move yet, taking advantage of Ronaldo's frustration at Madrid, and failure to sign a new deal, to tempt the Portuguese forward to join with a world record salary offer of €20m (£17m) per year.
Monaco are closely monitoring Ronaldo's negotiations with Real over a contract extension, and if no deal is done by late July or August they will make their move. There have been talks between Monaco and Ronaldo's camp over the last 18 months, and the two parties met earlier this year.
Ronaldo feels underappreciated at Madrid and believes he is due a pay rise. He is especially keen to earn more than his great rival Lionel Messi at Barcelona. Messi signed a new contract in February that will last until 2018, heavily incentivised but with a basic salary starting at €12m per year and increased through bonuses and image rights.
Monaco will offer Ronaldo an annual salary of €20m, which would equate to nearly £330,000 per week. The principality of Monaco does not charge its residents income tax, so Ronaldo would become the highest-paid footballer in the world.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who would be his Ligue 1 rival at Paris Saint-Germain, has a net salary of between €13m and €14m but – because of France's near 75pc tax rate on top earners – Paris have to pay out far more than that. Monaco would face no such issue.
This summer, since their promotion back to Ligue 1, Monaco have spent more than £100m on players – all clients of Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes. Their summer spending started with a combined £60m on Porto pair Rodriguez and Moutinho, followed by the arrival of Ricardo Carvalho, formerly of Chelsea and Real Madrid, on a free transfer.
Their next purchase was Colombian striker Falcao, who joined from Atletico Madrid for a fee of roughly £50m, and will be paid £12m annually. Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is likely to be next, and they have also been linked with John Terry.
Monaco would have to bid another world record fee for Ronaldo, as Real would be keen to make back the €95m (£80m) which they paid Manchester United for him in 2009. United are also keen to sign Ronaldo this summer, with the player himself open to the possibility of returning to Old Trafford, where he enjoyed six brilliant seasons between 2003 and 2009. There has also been dialogue between Ronaldo's camp and United this year.
Ronaldo has scored an implausible 199 goals in 201 games at Madrid since his arrival from United in 2009, and only the feats of Messi at Barca have stopped him from being recognised as the undisputed player of his generation.
He has won just one Spanish title and one Copa Del Rey in four years of individual brilliance at Madrid, while during the same period Messi has won three titles, the Champions League, a Copa Del Rey, the Club World Cup and, importantly, three Fifa Ballon D'Or awards.
Ronaldo has not been crowned the world's best since his 2008 Ballon D'Or and would love to win it again. (© Independent News Service)