Football

Published on June 16th, 2017 | by Paco Polit

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A smokescreen or serious: Is Cristiano Ronaldo really leaving Real Madrid

A series of off-the-field stories have dogged Cristiano Ronaldo all week, followed by the biggest of all – the threat of leaving Real Madrid 

A megaton bomb shook the football world on Friday after Portuguese outlet A Bola broke the scoop on its front page: “Cristiano wants to leave Spain”. The newspaper revealed that trusted sources had confirmed the player is “outraged” after his tax obligation problems with the Spanish authorities have made it onto the headlines of the real news rather than sports. Additionally, the paper claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo had spoken directly to Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, regarding this issue and his intentions.

Anyone who blames coincidence for the timing of these events is probably on the right track, to say the least. In Jorge Mendes’ world – Ronaldo’s super agent – nothing is left to chance. The leak about Cristiano’s internal struggles comes after a rough week for the superstar, whose notable sporting performances of late had been left aside by the general public in favor of gossip, public shaming and scandal due to his huge 14.7 million euros being allegedly defrauded from the Spanish tax authorities.

The leak points to Cristiano’s decision for leaving Real Madrid being taken “two or three months ago”, and that it will be announced “after the player competes in the Confederations Cup this month and enjoys a short holiday”. A curious fact, especially taking into consideration that the player’s inner circle (quite skilled at revealing detailed information about Cristiano’s antics) were mute about the topic to Spanish media outlets and even Real Madrid itself.

At this point, weighing in on this affair is inevitable. Cristiano believes he’s being treated unfairly, and he has the right to think so… although that belief isn’t necessarily accurate. Let’s remember how Leo Messi was slammed by the media and fans last year, with huge amounts of pressure coming both from the authorities and the national outlets with pro-Madridista agendas. Only loyal Barça fans supported him throughout the ordeal.

Regardless of the outcome (Messi was put on trial, found guilty and sentenced), being in the spotlight was scandalous and very damaging for such a big star. With that in mind, Cristiano has no right to feel scolded. In the worst case scenario, he will be walking a path already trodden by Leo.

However, let’s not jump to conclusions. The whole leak issue smells fishy. Even though the Spanish media have jumped quickly into spilling revelations regarding how the decision was taken and backing it up with sources who now (!) confirm Cristiano has wanted to leave since March, one may think that something larger is at work behind the canvas. Alerting everyone about a hypothetical Cristiano departure may set in motion every mechanism to keep him happy at every cost.

This ‘leak’ (notice the quotation marks) is convenient enough: fans will mobilize into pleading for him to stay, Real Madrid will react and be 100% on top of the tax matter and the player will get full, unbidden, aggressive support from the media in the fight to minimize any shadow his suspected fraud may throw over his unblemished image.

Again, Leo Messi and his evolution throughout the months following his trial and sentences can be the perfect mirror to Cristiano’s situation. And, at the end of the day, Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid is right now as possible as Jorge Mendes negotiating and Cristiano signing a new, multimillion-worth contract with Real and extending his link with the current European Champions. Quoting ‘Game of Thrones’, chaos is indeed a ladder and only the most cunning know how to take advantage, even in the bleakest of circumstances.

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About the Author

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Paco Polit is a Valencia-based journalist with over ten years experience reporting La Liga, covering both Valencia CF and Levante’s news, signings, ups and downs. Madrid and Barcelona are huge, indeed, but the Spanish La Liga is much, much more: regarded as the top football competition in the world, he enjoys explaining why to every reader from abroad.



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