Cristiano Ronaldo frustrated at contract talks amid courting of Neymar

Cristiano Ronaldo's frustration at defeat in El Clasico is mirrored in his contract talks with Florentino Perez. (AFP)
Updated 24 December 2017
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Cristiano Ronaldo frustrated at contract talks amid courting of Neymar

LONDON: Cristiano Ronaldo’s discontent with Real Madrid has reached a point where “he doesn’t even want to talk to the president”, Florentino Perez. According to sources close to the most successful footballer in the Spanish club’s history, Ronaldo has been angered by Madrid’s failure to deliver an improved contract.
Despite cementing his status as the game’s best player by leading Madrid to a Liga, Champions League and Club World Cup treble this year while collecting back-to-back World Player of the Year awards, Ronaldo has seen his salary eclipsed by Lionel Messi and Neymar. His argument is that on-field achievements should be correctly reflected in his contractual terms — particularly as his commercial value to Madrid is superior to that of the two South Americans.
Ronaldo has also complained to friends of a lack of respect on the part of Madrid’s president in publicly flirting with Neymar on the night the Portugal international collected the fifth Ballon d’Or of his career.
“Being in Madrid would make it easier to win the Ballon d’Or,” said Perez of Neymar earlier this month.”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.”
Madrid lost a high-stakes bidding war to Barcelona when Perez failed to persuade Neymar to leave Santos for the Spanish capital in 2013. Although the Brazil international exploited a €222 million ($263 million) release clause to join Paris Saint-Germain last summer, Neymar’s father has encouraged Madrid to renew their pursuit of the 25-year-old — a move Ronaldo’s camp is aware of.
Currently in his ninth season at Madrid, Ronaldo has reset a host of national, European and global records while scoring 422 goals for the club. The 32-year-old has stated his intention to play into 40s and aims to be recognized as the greatest footballer of all time.
After deciding last weekend’s Club World Cup Final with the only goal in a 1-0 defeat of Gremio, Ronaldo deliberately placed public pressure on Perez to improve his financial terms by stating a desire to finish his career at the Santiago Bernabeu — if conditions were correct. “I would really like to, but things don’t depend on me,” he said. “What depends on me is what I do on the pitch. I am not the one who runs the club, that is for those in charge. My job is on the pitch and I think I am doing it well, the rest I can’t control.”
Formally agreed in November 2016, Ronaldo’s current contract runs until the summer of 2021 and is understood to include a guaranteed gross salary of €48 million a year. That figure had been surpassed twice this year. First, by PSG’s summer deal with Neymar, then by the belated formalization of Messi’s hugely improved Barca contract. The Argentina international became the first footballer to be rewarded contract with a contract said to be worth an annual €50 million after-tax.
Ronaldo’s situation is further complicated by an ongoing dispute with the Spanish government over an alleged €14.7 million of unpaid tax. The player denies evading tax or hiding details of his income and argues that he has been targeted because of his celebrity. “If I wasn’t called Cristiano Ronaldo, I wouldn’t be sat here,” he said in a court appearance earlier this year.
Discussions between club and player over improved terms took place at the end of last season. Asked about a renewal ahead of Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Barcelona, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidance said: “What I think is that Cristiano, what he has done and what he is doing, deserves all of the club’s respect, but only after the winter break will we talk about it.”


Mickey Arthur calls on Pakistan to prove India defeat was one-off

Updated 33 min 30 sec ago
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Mickey Arthur calls on Pakistan to prove India defeat was one-off

  • Pakistan coach wants improved performance when side next face big rivals India on Sunday in the UAE.
  • Asia Cup now down to Super Four stage.

LONDON: Mickey Arthur is confident Pakistan can bounce back from their big defeat against India in Dubai on Wednesday.
Arthur’s side lost by eight wickets to their arch-rivals in the final clash of the group stage at the Asia Cup, taking place in the UAE.
It came less than 24 hours after India struggled to beat Hong Kong, but Rohit Sharma’s side hit the disappointment of that performance for six to easily beat Pakistan.
Despite the defeat Arthur is sure his side can turn things around in the Super Four stage and go all the way and win the tournament.
“Whenever we go head-to-head with India, I am comfortable that we’ve got a dressing room of players who can stand up to it,” the Pakistan coach said.
“I am comfortable we’ve got a dressing room of players who, on any given day, can win. So I still think it’s a 50-50. Lucky this game was inconsequential in the tournament.”
Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (three for 15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (three for 23) sent Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, collapsing to just 162 all out in 43.1 overs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Skipper Sharma then struck three sixes and six boundaries in his 39-ball 52 while fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a six and six fours in his 54-ball 46 as India romped home in just 29 overs.
Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik both finished on 31 not out as India exacted some revenge for their humbling 180-run defeat against their arch-rivals in the final of the Champions Trophy in London last year — the most recent match between the teams until Wednesday.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was not a happy man after watching his Pakistan side soundly beaten by India in Dubai. 


Both Pakistan and India had already qualified for the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup and will meet again in Dubai on Sunday. When they do Arthur will doubtless be looking for a response and for his side to stick to the set plans.
“On a wicket like that you need to strike really if you’re going to defend it. We didn’t strike early enough,” Arthur said.
“We went away from our plans too quickly. We said that our batters batted outside our roles and that wasn’t acceptable. With our bowling, we went outside our plans far too quickly. We wanted to bowl hard lengths, hit the top of off stump.
“It was tough to score then. We did that in the first six, and then (Usman Khan) Shinwari decided to come around the wicket and bowl a bouncer with fine leg up. And from there it just tumbled.
“We’re going to sit down and talk about that. It’s not good enough. We went outside our plans.
“That’s not acceptable. I think there was a bit of panic when they didn’t strike early.”
Also of concern to the Pakistan coach is the form of Mohammad Amir. The side’s main bowler has looked out of form recently and has struggled for wickets since last year’s Champions Trophy win.
“I’d be lying if I sat here and said there wasn’t (any concern about Amir),” Arthur said.
“I had a really good, long hard chat with him last night and I thought he came out and bowled really well. He hit the crease really hard. He ran in well. He’s been decelerating to the crease, but he didn’t do that today.
“He seemed more fluent, there was a little bit more pace there. And I was comfortable (with what he did), he bowled well. 
There is pressure on him, of course there is.”
There was much hype surrounding the clash, as there always is with any India vs. Pakistan match, but once Pakistan’s unpredictable batting crumbled, Wednesday’s showdown turned into a damp squib for a near-capacity crowd in the UAE. They will all hope that Sunday’s rerun will dish up more drama and entertainment.