Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to leave Manchester United but has seen any possibility of a Real Madrid switch dashed by Florentino Perez, whose relationship with the player previously deteriorated
There has certainly not been a clamour to sign Cristiano Ronaldo this summer and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has no interest in a return for the veteran forward.
That is despite him being arguably the most decorated Los Blancos player, certainly of the modern era, and among the most successful prior to his departure in 2018. Manchester United are currently battling to keep the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has made it clear he wants to leave after less than 12 months back at the club.
He missed pre-season and was left on the bench for the Premier League opener as his future remains unclear. His age profile means there is not a huge market for him, unlike in 2018 when he opted to leave Madrid as a Champions League winner at the age of 33, but seemingly still at the peak of his powers.
It was the breakdown in his relationship with Perez that saw Ronaldo leave the Spanish capital. And while he may still have huge influence at the Bernabeu, if there’s one man he was going to lose to in that battle it was the Madrid supremo himself, who has been more than happy to stick the knife in.
He has been quizzed on whether he would entertain a move for the club’s record goalscorer but laughed as he replied: “Cristiano? Again? At 38?” Since Ronaldo and Perez parted ways the player has scored regularly, but been part of a declining Juventus side before joining a United team that have gone the same way, leaving him with a year of Europa League football ahead.
Perez meanwhile, despite going through several managers, has seen Los Blancos win the LaLiga title once more as well as the Champions League back in May against Liverpool. The club’s 14th European triumph and the sixth under his leadership with Karim Benzema, for so long the bridesmaid to Ronaldo, now stepping up emphatically to lead the club.
Florentino Perez and Cristiano Ronaldo parted ways four years ago
Ronaldo was far from a Perez favourite, which may come as a shock. The pair were involved in issues behind the scenes, which on occasion were aired in public. The relationship grew strained in the final year after it is claim a contract promise was not delivered on following Madrid’s Champions League success in Cardiff in 2017.
After their victory in Kyiv a year later, Ronaldo spoke openly about pursuing pastures new. Those comments were not well received by Perez, who said: “Now is not the time for individual issues; the club is more important than anyone. I am glad he has five European Cups, like me. The same thing is heard every summer and then nothing happens.”
Ronaldo later said he regretted the timing of his comments, but not the message itself. His agent Jorge Mendes had made Juventus chiefs known that he was keen on a move to the Italian giants months earlier. Perez had also spent much of Ronaldo’s final year flirting with the possibility of bringing Neymar to the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid claimed the Champions League last term with Carlo Ancelotti leading them
Karim Benzema is now Florentino Perez’s talisman
Eventually it all became too much and Ronaldo left for Juventus in a deal worth over £100, meaning Madrid made a profit on the then world-record fee they spent in 2009. Despite scoring 450 times in 438 and helping deliver four Champions Leagues, the Portuguese star was by no means a favourite of Perez’s.
The acquisition of the now Manchester man was made by Ramon Calderon during his presidency at the Bernabeu. Perez in essence inherited Ronaldo, which is something that never truly went away. That feeling that he wasn’t entirely the choice of the man at the top.
So much so that an episode in 2012 saw Perez show little concern for Ronaldo seeking to leave the club. PSG were becoming a new superpower, backed by the Qatari millions, and the Portuguese forward felt it was the ideal time to make the move, which would also further his Ballon d’Or ambitions.
Cristiano Ronaldo is currently trying to find a new club at the age of 38 ( Image: PA)
He reportedly sent a text to a friend in 2012 declaring: “I want to go to Paris. There, they will really love me. The French will be so happy that I play in their Championship that the media will campaign in my favour for the Ballon d’Or.” Ronaldo discussed that possibility with Perez, who made his stance clear.
According to FF, Madrid’s president replied: “Find me a club that puts €200million on the table, and with the money, I’ll pay the release clause of Messi to take your place.” Ronaldo’s rivalry with his fellow great has long been a driving factor – a decade on from that conversation and the fear that Messi could usurp his Champions League goal tally is thought to be a motivating factor in his want to quit Old Trafford.
Chelsea and Bayern Munich have both distanced themselves from the player with Napoli and Sporting Lisbon among the links that seem to still be possible. Madrid have now too ruled themselves out, clearly believing that they are primed to continue winning whilst their former great is not. Having lost the most political of battles to Perez, it seems he is clearly determined to also win the war.