Cristiano Ronaldo is tired of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s procrastination over a new contract and wants out of the Bernabeu, a source close to the player told ESPN FC on Tuesday..
Ronaldo is under contract at Madrid until June 2021, but the source said the five-time Ballon D’Or winner feels he deserves another pay rise after a stellar 2016-17 season on a personal and team level, and having seen Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar sign deals paying far more.
Several conversations regarding extending Ronaldo’s contract have taken place, but Blancos club chief Perez has always postponed any decision, according to the source.
And while it is still possible for a new deal to be agreed with Madrid, the source said that as matters stand now the Portugal captain wants to leave.
Real Madrid did not respond to a request for comment.
Spanish newspaper AS reported on Monday’s front page that Ronaldo feels betrayed by Perez having reneged on a promise to improve his contract and his “priority” is now to return to former club Manchester United.
That report was accurate, the source told ESPN FC, though separate sources close to United said the Premier League side still doubted Ronaldo’s willingness to leave the Bernabeu. On Tuesday, AS said United were unlikely to push for a deal considering the money involved — a €100 million fee and then at least €50 million a year in salary.
Also on Tuesday, Portuguese newspaper Record reported that Perez has given “carte blanche” to Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes to present exit proposals, though without setting a value at which he would agree to sell. That report was also accepted by ESPN FC’s source close to Ronaldo.
Last week, Marca claimed that the Bernabeu hierarchy knew Ronaldo and Mendes had no serious options to move elsewhere, with previous suitors PSG also said to not consider the transfer viable at this stage of the 32-year-old’s career.
Speaking after he had scored the winner in Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Gremio at December’s Club World Cup, Ronaldo said his future “does not depend on me” — comments widely interpreted as a push towards Perez to offer a new contract
Perez’s last public statements on Ronaldo’s future came at that tournament in Abu Dhabi, when he said he hoped the player did see out his career at the club, but recalled that a current deal signed just over 12 months ago still had three and a half years to run.
Ronaldo is Madrid’s club record goal scorer with 422 goals in 418 games over his eight-and-a-half years in Spain, but he has found the net just four times in La Liga so far this season.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan