Confusion reigns as Cristiano Ronaldo takes control of the narrative
Just after being charged with tax fraud in Spain and just before playing in the Confederations Cup, reports of Cristiano wanting to leave Madrid have swept through the press like a gift from the transfer rumor gods at the lowest point of the football news cycle. But mixed in with this pageview jackpot have been reports to the contrary. So which is it? Does Ronaldo want to stay or go? And why now? Here are several possible answers:
He wants more money
We’ve been here before with Cristiano. Back in 2012, when he dropped down to being just the 10th highest paid player in the game, he said on camera that he was “feeling sad” and that “the people who work here [Real Madrid] know why.” As we know, Cristiano didn’t go anywhere, and his wages have risen substantially over the years—most recently with a five-year contract extension he signed back in November. But now the Spanish government is coming after that money and Cristiano saw where this leads when they did it to Leo Messi. So it would make sense that he wants Real Madrid to effectively cover these losses, plus a bit extra for emotional/ego damages. Which leads us to the next possibility…
He wants to distract from the tax charges
What better way for Cristiano Ronaldo to distract from a negative story than with rabid speculation as to where he could play next season? Maybe he’ll go back to Man United! Sporting want him back! Bolton have some jokes! What tax charges?
The timing of all this is certainly curious since these reports have only come out after the tax charges became public knowledge. And you don’t get to be a figure of Ronaldo’s stature without some PR people who are well versed in the art of distraction.
He never said anything and this is actually just a media creation
As previously stated, this is a super boring time of year for football news. Journalists would trade their organs for something—anything—to cover at the start of the offseason and it seems like every year a coin is flipped to decide whether it will be a Messi or a Ronaldo transfer story that will serve as the desperate attempt to stave off the monotony of nothingness. Nothing ever comes of these stories, but they achieve their purpose of filling pages and tape. This year, the coin might’ve just landed on Ronaldo.
He really wants to leave
I mean, it’s possible that it’s true and he really does feel angry enough about this tax situation that he wants to flee the country in shame. That doesn’t really seem like the Cristiano way, but people can do things that are out of character when faced with stressful circumstances. I’m sure China would be happy to let him not pay any taxes at all.