Cristiano's wages, the main obstacle impeding his return to Real Madrid

Cristiano earns 31 million euros net at Juventus - 10 million more than he did in his final year at Real Madrid. The club's wage bill is already 448 million.


The possibility that Cristiano could return to Real Madrid has caused such a commotion that neither the player nor the club have come out to deny the rumours. Cristiano has welcomed the idea while for Madrid, it might also work out well as it would buy them time to ride out the pandemic and reestablish income to fund other, major operations such as signing Haaland or Mbappé. But there is one stumbling block - Cristiano's wages.

Sources close to Cristiano's situation at Juventus have told AS that the player currently earns 31 million euros net per year. For Juve, that works out at 86 million euros before tax. That is way too much expenditure for a club which has seen its income drop dramatically during the crisis. According to the official annual report, Juve lost 113.7 million euros during the first six months of the season due to the economic fallout of the pandemic. The team was also eliminated from the Champions League at the Last 16 stage, which means they will have incurred even more losses by the time the season ends. Last season, 2019-20, they posted losses of 90 million… For that reason, it is possible that Juve might might accept letting Cristiano leave for free, although he still have one year to run on his contract, which expires in 2022; it is an option which would at least allow the club to save the 86 million euros which otherwise would be spent to pay his salary. It is estimated that Cristiano takes a fifth of the squad's total wage bill.

Cristiano earning 10 million more than he did at Real Madrid

When he left Madrid, Cristiano was earning 21 million euros net per year (10M less than he does now). But the situation at Real Madrid is very different now to when he joined Juventus on a 100 millon deal in 2018. First of all, Madrid must pay back the loan they took out to remodel the Bernabéu - 570 million euros. On top of that, the pandemic has slashed income by almost 25% to just 617 million euros from the 800M which the club was bringing in before the crisis. And finally, because the squad's wage bill rocketed with the most recent signings (Hazard in particular).

At the moment, Madrid pay a total of 448 million euros in wage to a workforce of almost 800 employees, including the first team squad. With revenue of 617 million, salaries count for 70% of the total income - right at the very limit of what the European Clubs Association recommends. Gareth Bale has another year to run on his contract. He could hold the key to Cristiano's return. Added to that, Cristiano would also have to lower his wage expectations because there is no way that Madrid could match the 31 million salary which he currently takes home at Juve. Cristiano's wages is the chief obstacle standing in the way of his return to the Spanish capital. And that is not taking into account that the club's priority is Haaland.