Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has opened up about recent reports suggesting Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave the Bernabeu this summer for the first time.
It was reported last week that the 32-year-old, following a series of allegations relating to tax fraud, no longer wanted to play in La Liga following eight campaigns with Los Blancos.
The decision has been described as irreversible and Ronaldo has reportedly pin-pointed Manchester United as his preferred next destination.
And Perez, speaking at a press conference on Monday, noted that he hadn’t spoken to Ronaldo since the Champions League final but insisted he would defend the Portuguese at all costs.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is more powerful than all of us,” he said. “All I can say is that Cristiano Ronaldo has a contract with Madrid. I have not spoken to Ronaldo, I have just heard what has been in the newspapers.
“The last time I spoke to Ronaldo was after the Cardiff match [the Champions League final] and we spoke about next season.
“I must defend him at all costs, both as a player and as a person. What I will say is that everyone must fulfil their tax obligations. I have no doubt that Cristiano will be able to defend himself.”
Perez is right in saying that Ronaldo, even at a club of such regal power like Madrid, exists in a completely different realm of importance to anybody else in the footballing world.
The 70-year-old couldn’t – or just didn’t – falsify the noise surrounding Ronaldo’s possible move away, which can mean a couple of things: either the Portuguese really is on his way out, or he wants to prolong what is actually a PR ploy to deflect from his tax allegations and reduce his punishment to a penalty fee, or perhaps even less.
Only time will reveal the real nature of this saga. It is always worth remembering that Madrid are a notoriously political club.