Florentino Pérez has said that his club are not contemplating Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure but one day they will have to, and his equivocal tone suggests they are keeping their options open this summer
“That’s not something I am contemplating.” The phrase was repeated often but that did not make it any more true. On Monday night Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, insisted he was not even thinking about a series of scenarios that he certainly is thinking about. He has to. As he said himself: “Things happen and you look for the best solution for everyone.” What happened was that the Portuguese daily A Bola broke the story that Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Spain; the question now is whether that solution actually involves him walking away, eight years after his arrival. And if so, who provides an escape route? Who gives him somewhere to go?
It is what he wants, the report said. Other reports followed, with none of them denied. A Bola is close to Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, and Pérez gave them a certain credence; although there was the usual proviso applied to press reports, this was no flat dismissal of baseless rumours. The headline that started it all was stark: “Ronaldo wants to abandon Spain.” Here is the thing: depending how this is managed, it may not be such a bad thing for Madrid either. Their position is a strong one, if unexpected. Managing this is not just about getting what you really want or even what can be achieved in return; it also includes the apportioning of responsibility. “Abandon” is a word Madrid would have welcomed: if it happens, he did this.