Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid looks tricky to me...
Friday's edition of A Bola announced that Cristiano Ronaldo won't be returning to Spain. I'm not so convinced that'll happen, to be honest; it isn't that simple. He has a contract with Real Madrid that the club aren't going to tear up just like that. He remains, by a distance, their franchise player. Decisive in the run-in in both LaLiga and the Champions League (10 goals in the quarters, semis and final combined), favourite to win a fifth Ballon d'Or, sponsors' icon... There are very few clubs who could afford his wages, or players who could fill the void left by his departure, except for the unattainable Leo Messi. His release clause stands at a billion euros. However angry he is, however much he seeks to force his way out, I think it'll be difficult.
Rumours Real sought to keep themselves out of CR7 photos
And he is angry. Firstly, having the taxman after you isn't pleasant. Then there's the issue of the photos in Portugal kit. El Confidencial says Florentino Pérez called 'friendly' media outlets (it doesn't specify which) asking them to use images of him in his country's colours, rather than Real's, in their reports on the tax accusations. I've no idea if there's anything in that. At AS, it's been a while since Pérez has honoured us with the sound of his voice. The last time I saw him was in an absurd lawsuit he filed against me, and lost. In this paper, Cristiano appeared in Portugal kit as it was a photo of him from that day, with the latest of his ever-changing looks. I'm guessing it was the same elsewhere. Or maybe not. Either way, many have bought the idea.
Cristiano is upset now - but I think this will blow over
Including Cristiano, most likely. Pérez has earned such a reputation for being able to pull strings that CR7 will probably be thinking he could've got him out of this tight spot, but instead is distancing himself from him. Which isn't the case. Real issued a statement in support of him, while we've even seen the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, lend him a hand by warning against rushing to judgement, something I don't recall anyone from the government doing when Messi's tax problems began. But Ronaldo suddenly finds himself under a big black cloud, his fellow 'Mendes clan' members (Pepe, Coentrao and James) are leaving and he's miffed. I imagine that, as the days go by, he'll have the chance to clear his head and this will all be remembered as a bump in the road.