Paris St Germain sporting director Leonardo has dismissed speculation that Cristiano Ronaldo, who has said he is unhappy at Real Madrid, could be on his way to the big-spending French club.
Ronaldo, 27, refused to celebrate either of his two goals in the Spanish champions’ victory over Granada at the weekend and said after the game: “I am sad, and the people at the club know about it. It’s about professional issues. I can’t say any more.”
Leonardo, though, was quick to refute speculation that PSG could move for the seemingly unsettled Ronaldo, saying that, in summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Paris club already had “the best striker in the world”.
Speaking to radio station RMC, he said: ”We’re very happy with our transfer market dealings. Many things are said about PSG – too many, maybe. Ronaldo is a Real Madrid player. We don’t talk about others teams’ players – that’s respect.
“Ibrahimovic is the best striker in the world. So why hire Ronaldo? Zlatan is unique. When we talk about the best players, there is Ronaldo and Messi – but they are not strikers. The best striker, that’s Zlatan.” Meanwhile, widespread reports in the Spanish sports media suggest a combination of more money and “more love” from Real are required to lift Ronaldo’s spirits.
As he arrived to join Portugal’s squad in Obidos, he told reporters: “I am not going to say anything” – but later that night a message was filtered through to the media that suggested “everything has a solution”.
Portugal keeper Beto backed his national captain, saying: “He is a model professional. Nobody could doubt his performances.” The Portuguese FA said Ronaldo would be fit for the Brazil 2014 qualifiers in Luxembourg on Friday and against Azerbaijan in Braga four days later despite suffering a slight thigh strain against Granada.
Tuesday’s Spanish sports papers were filled with speculation about what had sparked Ronaldo’s ‘sadness’, with Marca suggesting he wanted more backing and protection from the club.
The paper says Ronaldo feels he does not have the unanimous recognition of his team-mates, believes he deserves a significant contract improvement and is very concerned about a “strictly personal” problem.
Of these issues, AS believes finance is the most important. The paper says Ronaldo’s €10 million-a-year deal was the biggest in world football when he signed for Madrid in 2009, but has since been overtaken – Samuel Eto’o, Zlatan Ibrahmovic, Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Lionel Messi all earn more now.
Marca’s lead article argues that “Cristiano’s sadness cannot be cured with money”, with its report claiming Ronaldo does not feel he gets the respect his goalscoring record of 151 strikes in 149 games deserves from either the boardroom or the dressing room.
Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has denied reports that he had been surprised by his client’s comments at the weekend, saying: “Cristiano’s statement was based on reasons I was aware of, and it is Cristiano’s right to share them [his concerns] or not, as he himself sees fit.
“What he said did not surprise me or, even less, cause me any discomfort. Anyone who knows my relationship with Cristiano knows that he will always have my total solidarity.”