Cristiano Ronaldo has asked that Real Madrid set their selling price for a potential summer transfer at €100million (£89million) or less.
At the same time, the World Player of the Year’s representatives have made it known to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United that the forward is willing to “fight for a move” out of Spanish football if necessary.
The release clause in the five-season contract Ronaldo signed in November 2016 stands at a symbolic €1billion (£887million). Ronaldo’s camp are seeking a commitment from Madrid president Florentino Perez that he would sell for a “realistic fee” of lower than one tenth of that sum, enabling long-term suitors PSG and United to pursue the Portugal international.
Ronaldo’s relationship with Perez is at a dangerously low ebb, with sources close to the most successful footballer in Madrid’s history saying that it has a reached a point “he doesn’t even want to talk to the president”.
Central to the 32-year-old’s discontent is his belief that Perez reneged on an end-of-season promise to improve his financial terms relative to the sport’s other leading protagonists.
Although Ronaldo cemented his status as the game’s best player by leading Madrid to a Liga, Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup treble this year while collecting back-to-back World Player of the Year awards, his basic salary has been eclipsed by both Lionel Messi and Neymar .
Ronaldo’s argument is that his on-field achievements should be correctly reflected in his pay – not least because his commercial value to Madrid is superior to that of the two South Americans.
“I’m the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones,” said Ronaldo in a pointed interview with France Football to mark this year’s Ballon d’Or success.
“I respect everyone’s preferences, but I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can. There’s no player more complete than me. I play well with both feet, I’m quick, powerful, good with the head, I score goals, I make assists. There are guys who prefer Neymar or Messi. But I tell you: There’s no-one more complete than me.
“No-one has won as many individual trophies as me. And I’m not speaking just of the Ballon d’Or. That says something, doesn’t it? It’s not just a result of the work I do in the gym as some people think. It’s the sum of many things. Legends like Floyd Mayweather and LeBron James don’t get to their perfect level by chance. Many factors coincide. To be at the top and to stay there you have to have more talent than the others.”
Ronaldo is also understood to have been angered by what he regarded as a lack of respect on Perez’s part at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris earlier this month.
At an event held to honour the Portugal international’s fifth such award, Madrid’s president chose to publicly flirt with Neymar. “Being in Madrid would make it easier to win the Ballon d’Or,” said Perez of the PSG forward.”Real Madrid is a club which gives all you need as a big player, everyone knows that I already wanted to sign him at one point.”