The news that Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Spain and, therefore, Real Madrid, has set alarm bells ringing at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo is currently playing in the Confederations Cup with the Portugal national team and the European Champions are waiting until after the Confederations Cup final on July 2 to sit down and talk with their superstar.
In the meantime both manager Zinedine Zidane and captain Sergio Ramos are said to have called Ronaldo and urged him to stay at Madrid.
It will be interesting to see if Zidane, who has a reputation for exceptional man-management skills can persuade his talisman to stay at the club.
Media outlet in England and Portugal don’t think he can, as Sky Sports have reported that Ronaldo wants to return to Manchester United while A Bola, the publication which broke the story, also report that he wants to re-join United
Manchester United have been down this path before, as recently as four years ago when they spent most of the summer chasing Ronaldo, only to see him sign a new deal in Madrid. Which is why there are some in the Old Trafford offices who are unconvinced that the 32-year-old actually will leave the Bernabeu this summer.
In the meantime, Real hope that Ronaldo won’t take part in any more interviews so that the situation can be defused during his time in Russia.
The fact that Ronaldo did not meet with the press after Portugal’s first match in the Confederations Cup will be seen as a win for Real president Florentino Pérez.
At the heart of the story is that Ronaldo does not feel that the club have supported him through the trouble he is experiencing with the Spanish tax authorities, who have accused him of defrauding 1€4.7 million.
As much as his decision to leave Spain is said to be final, there is a hope at the Bernabeu that they can convince the 32-year-old to change his mind over the next fortnight.
If they cannot persuade him to stay, then Real will have no qualms about selling Ronaldo and using the money to buy Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe, who they see as a younger version of the four-time Ballon d’Or winner.
It will cost Real about €150m to pry Mbappe from Monaco, but with Manchester United and PSG both willing to pay €180m for Ronaldo, Real might be able to buy both Mbappe and AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma with the Ronaldo money.
As for Manchester United, if you add in the transfer fee for Ronaldo plus his wages, you are looking at about a £350m expenditure for the Portuguese star.
Back in 2014, Manchester United executive vice-chairman said:
“We can do things in the transfer market that other clubs can only dream of.”
With the world record signing of Paul Pogba last season and potentially Cristiano Ronaldo this year, it appears that Woodward’s prophesy is starting to come true.