Ronaldo strop about improving contract, not leaving the club
If you think our scribblers are a tad excitable, try monitoring the Spanish media. They never shirk from their sacred duty of turning a drama into a crisis. Remember that, as the usual suspects pontificate on the future of Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s diva of the day.
Ronaldo tossed his toys out of the pram after scoring twice in Real’s win against Granada on Sunday night. He refused to celebrate his goals and made dark references about his unhappiness at the Bernabéu. The most logical theory – that he is upset by supposedly disrespectful treatment meted out to Kaká, his new best friend – was insufficiently sexy for some.
One TV pundit gatecrashed the airways with a lurid account of Ronaldo weeping in the dressing room for 20 minutes after the game. Another suggested he had fallen out, irreversibly, with Marcelo and Fabio Coentrão, his Portuguese national team-mate. It was only matter of time before a potential swap deal with Wayne Rooney, and a return to Manchester United, was on the cyberspace agenda.
Ronaldo’s relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson is intriguingly warm and has been sustained despite his departure from United, which contributed the little matter of £80m to the Glazers’ pension plan. Rooney’s gladiatorial nature would go down well in Madrid. But let’s be serious for a moment…
One of the few incontestable facts in this saga is that Ronaldo met with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez on Saturday night, and was accompanied by his agent Jorge Mendes, who knows a nice little earner when he sees one. There are “only” three years left on Ronaldo’s mega-contract.
The arrival of a new star, in this case Luka Modric, is a traditional time to remind the men who matter of Ronaldo’s intrinsic value to the club. It also helps that he will be away from Madrid for the next 10 days, playing for Portugal against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. There are vast swathes of newsprint to be filled in his absence.
His worth cannot be questioned even by the hysterics at Barcelona, who love to make unflattering comparisons with Lionel Messi. Ronaldo scored his 150th goal for the club last weekend. Entering only his fourth season at the club, he is now 10th in the list of Real’s all-time scorers, and if he maintains his current scoring rate, will overhaul Francisco Gento, Amancio, Emilio Butragueño and Pirri by the end of the season. He will then be bracketed with legends such as Hugo Sánchez, Ferenc Puskas, Santillana, Alfredo Di Stéfano and Raúl.
No wonder Cristiano Ronaldo is never knowingly undersold.
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