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.”


Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

Updated 23 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

  • Egyptian superstar currently has 30 Premier League goals this season
  • Salah beat the likes of De Bruyne and Kane to the award

LONDON: Mohamed Salah was crowned the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday, with his incredible 41-goal debut season at Liverpool beating out strong competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s a big honor. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Salah matched a Premier League record tally for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Salah has also netted seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of City, to carry his side to a first semifinal for a decade.
De Bruyne showed why he had been many people’s early-season favorite for the prize with an incredible long-range strike for his 12th goal of the season to go with a league-high number of assists as champions City thrashed Swansea 5-0 on Sunday.
“From my point of view when you are analizing 10 months, there is no player better than him,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the Belgian midfielder.
“Maybe there are numbers better but for me he was the best. But it is my opinion, the opinions of the players could be different. But in the end, in summer time he will be at home being champion.”
City did pick up a prize from the PFA gala in central London on Sunday, though, as Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year.
Sane, another City team-mate David Silva, De Bruyne, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were the other five nominees for the main prize.