Francisco Seco/Associated Press
Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly told Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane he is being “treated like a criminal” in Spain amid allegations he committed tax fraud.
Per the Mirror‘s James Whaling, radio station COPE claimed that Ronaldo said to Zidane, “In Spain I am treated like a criminal. It starts with the media.”
Ronaldo is accused of defrauding Spanish authorities of £13 million and as a result has reportedly decided to leave Los Blancos this summer.
According to Marca, Zidane has been in contact with Ronaldo as he hopes the forward will stay put this summer:
B/R Football @brfootball
Front page of @marca:
Zidane called Ronaldo: “Cris, I don’t want you to go” https://t.co/yJH8EGMK3Q
However, according to Whaling, Ronaldo has apparently set his sights on rejoining Manchester United, who are themselves receptive to a move, and is hoping his agent Jorge Mendes can get the deal to happen.
Football writer Liam Canning believes the Red Devils should go all-out to land his signature but prepare themselves for him staying put, which they appear to be doing, according to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
Manchester United should do everything they can to re-sign Ronaldo, but they *must* have a back up plan if they are being played again.
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Manchester United wary of being drawn into transfer saga surrounding Ronaldo’s future. Working assumption is that he will stay in Madrid
Indeed, with Ronaldo yet to comment publicly on the speculation surrounding his future, it would be naive if the club were convinced he is actually going to leave the Spanish capital this summer.
ESPN’s Alex Shaw and Yahoo Sport’s Andrew Gaffney are sceptical of Ronaldo’s apparent desire to move on:
Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN
Ronaldo has a deal at Madrid until 2021 & Madrid have already released a statement backing him to the hilt. Not sure what his angle is here.
Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC
Anyone else not buying this ‘Cristiano wants to leave’ story & instead feel it’s a ploy to get important people in Spain to quash his case?
Real are riding on the crest of a wave right now having won La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, so his departure seems highly unlikely even with the difficult situation he finds himself in because of the allegations.
The Guardian‘s Stephen Burgen reported in 2014 that Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona amid a similar situation, while The Sun (h/t James Dickenson of the Express) have echoed that sentiment in the years since, but no such departure has taken place.
Though that may not have a direct bearing on Ronaldo, with everything going extremely well on the pitch for the 32-year-old, a quickly taken “irreversible” decision to leave Madrid feels similarly speculative at this point.