"It was very nice to be at Real Madrid. In the next few days I will give an answer to the fans who have always been by my side."
Cristiano end is nigh...again
These were the words of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo just moments after he and the team had won the club's 13th European Cup. His statement shocked his teammates and installed a sense of concern for fans. Cristiano then travelled to Russia to represent Portugal in the 2018 World Cup, but the physical distance did not reduce the tension between him and Madrid president Florentino Pérez, one that could see an end to the player's time in the Spanish capital.
In fact, according to Spanish programme Jugones, the club has already accepted an offer of 100 million euros from Juventus to sell him this summer, nine years after he joined for 96 million euros. This is not the first time he has appeared on the verge of a move away, summer transfer windows have made it a speculation staple in recent years, but if it were to happen, it would re-open the 'Galáctico' option for Madrid. And there are two names in the frey who could be that 'mega' signing able to replace the talisman? Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappé.
Neymar, at 26 years old, has become an obsession for Florentino. The president dreams of making another signing that would fall into the category of being 'historic', both from a marketing and football perspective. He sees him as a transfer move at the same level as that of Figo (2000), Zidane (2001) and Ronaldo (2002). Several months ago he began to test the water with the Brazilian's camp. He even sent an emissary from the club to explore the options of such an operation. He even upset Cristiano by fluttering his eyes at the PSG man at the Ballon d'Or gala, later saying Neymar would have a better chance of winning the Ballon d'Or if playing for Real Madrid.
The other star in the current market is Kylian Mbappé, also at PSG. The 19-year-old Frenchman aspires to be the next superstar player in the world of football, and is going about it well. At the World Cup he has already presented his credentials to occupy the throne, impressing against Argentina, and with his tender age has already been mentioned in the same breath as Pelé in some French conversations. The forward has already been an objective of Real Madrid, last summer, but ended up at PSG on loan, with an agreement to buy. Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules may hamper the 180-million-euro decision from the French club, although either way Madrid will have to dig deep into their pockets if they are to bring him to the Bernabéu.