Sunday 26 May 2019

Is Cristiano Ronaldo actually leaving Real Madrid? Juventus play the pawns in transfer that makes little sense

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo

Ed Malyon

Real Madrid will improve their contract offer to Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese’s latest campaign for more money saw him linked with Juventus.

The Italian club are, according to select reports, keen to sign the 33-year-old forward on a contract that would be four times their current highest wage and nearly half the existing wage bill of their entire squad.

Even getting a sponsor on board to help fund Ronaldo’s demands of a €60m gross annual salary would be difficult, though Fiat have been linked to such a deal.

Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is at the centre of proceedings having newly re-opened a relationship with Juve by securing them right-back Joao Cancelo from Valencia.

Mendes is understood to have informed the Italian champions that the reigning Ballon d’Or is willing to move to Turin, a proposition that would interest a club desperate to get over the hump and win the Champions League after losing two finals in the last four years.

But a €100m fee and €60m annual outlay for a 33-year-old player are numbers that still make little sense for Juventus, even accounting for an uptick in commercial revenue.

Madrid are undoubtedly open to selling the Portuguese and have tired of his near-annual agitating for a new contract, which is exacerbated this year by Neymar and Lionel Messi both being handed new and improved deals that dwarf the 33-year-old’s pay.

But having signed a long-term extension only last season, Ronaldo is short on leverage and with Manchester United just about the only club with the means to sign him and showing little interest, a suitor needed to be found.

Juventus appear to be willing pawns in the game if it means they might have a chance of signing one of the most prolific goalscorers of all-time but the financials of any deal seem so impossible that Madrid will only raise their offer to Ronaldo marginally in a bid to placate him and reaffirm his commitment to the club before pre-season begins.

Madrid remain keen on bringing Neymar to the Bernabeu but this week took the unusual step of denying reports that they have made bids for the Brazil star or clubmate Kylian Mbappe.

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