Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has ruled out cashing in on prized asset Cristiano Ronaldo.
Speaking to a group of fans in Italy, Pérez was asked about the possibility of Ronaldo making a big-money move to eclipse Neymar’s 222-million-euro transfer to PSG.
“Sell Cristiano? Never. I wouldn’t sell Cristiano if they paid his weight in gold.
Only the great players bring in great fees,” the Real president was quoted as saying in La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Madrid’s president said that he had found out about Ronaldo’s reported desire to leave when he was sent the front cover of the Portuguese newspaper A Bola on Monday morning. The paper, which is close to the player’s agent Jorge Mendes, led on the headline: “Ronaldo wants to abandon Spain.”
According to the report, he had told international team-mates that he wants to leave after the Spanish state prosecutor had requested that his case for alleged tax evasion be taken to court. Further reports suggested that Ronaldo has insisted there was no way back. None of the stories met with any denial.
Ronaldo was said to be upset with the way that the case had been treated in the media and by Real Madrid, who he believes have not done enough to defend him. There have been suggestions that he hoped Madrid would take responsibility for his tax issues and cover any financial penalty.
Pérez defended Ronaldo but said that the idea that the club would pay any fine on his behalf “does not make sense,” claiming: “he would not want that, I’m sure. He’s not like that. If he is annoyed it’s not because of that, it is because he feels unfairly treated.”
Pérez added that while the club pays income tax, players organise their image rights “as they see fit.” This, in short, was not Madrid’s responsibility.
He was speaking in Stromboli where he spent a few days while the team prepared for the European Supercup against Manchester United on Tuesday, with Ronaldo included in Zinedine Zidane’s squad.
Culled from AS