The most expensive player ever purchased in professional football – Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo – has once again cast doubt on his future at the Castillian giants after tweeting “All the news about my renewal with Real Madrid are false”, in a bid to scotch rumours he was close to signing a new deal at the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid are still the clear favourites to be home to CR7 at the close of the summer transfer window, but the superstar’s latest demonstration of disgruntlement – Ronaldo had previously refused to celebrate a goal against Granada earlier this term – will fan the flames of speculation nonetheless.
In some quarters Ronaldo’s latest posturing is seen as little more than playing hard to get over a new deal at Madrid.
The man from Madeira has two years to run on his contract with Los Merengues and is thought to want a pay packet in excess of the current world leading footballer’s wage of £300,000-a-week extracted from the Anzhi Makhachkala coffers by Samuel Eto’o.
Those searching for reasons behind Real’s foot-dragging over a new deal for their leading light need look no further than recent changes to the top bracket of Spanish income tax, which mean the state will now take 50 per cent of Ronaldo’s wages. With the Santiago Bernabeu outfit having to make up the difference in Ronaldo’s pay packet they will not be keen to offer him a huge pay rise.
Monaco and PSG would certainly have the cash to pay Ronaldo the potentially-third-world-debt-wiping wedge that he desires, but the Telegraph understands that Ronaldo has little desire to play in Ligue 1.
This leaves United as front-runners for his signature, but with Sir Alex Ferguson – the man Ronaldo regards as akin to a second father – no longer in the managerial hot seat, their lure may not be enough to make him consider downgrading his salary demands. As a result a prolonged stay with the Los Blancos looks the most likely option.