Cristiano Ronaldo has been in discussions with Real Madrid for months regarding a potential return to the club, according to reports in Spain, as speculation mounts over where the star will be playing next season.
Ronaldo and his Juventus team suffered more disappointment in the Champions League this week as they crashed out to unfancied Porto on away goals.
It was the latest blow to Ronaldo’s hopes of firing the team he joined in 2018 to European glory, with the Turin giants failing to go beyond the quarterfinal stage of the competition in each of the three seasons that five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo has been at the club.
Following their latest disappointment – and with Andrea Pirlo’s team staring at an uphill battle to retain the Serie A title they have won for the past nine seasons – talk has intensified that Juve’s 36-year-old Portuguese icon could be on his way out despite having one year remaining on his contract.
Reports have indicated that Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has already spoken to former club Real Madrid about a potential return for the forward, who departed in 2018 as Los Blancos’ all-time top scorer with 450 goals in 438 appearances after nine years in the Spanish capital.
According to fresh claims from Spanish outlet AS, those discussions between Ronaldo’s team and Real “have been ongoing for several months.”
The outlet also states that Ronaldo’s biggest wish is to return to the club where he became a bona fide megastar and won four of his five Ballon d’Or crowns.
Enduring more misery with Juve last week, Ronaldo failed to find the net in either of the two legs against Porto, although he has top-scored for the Old Lady in Serie A this season with 20 goals in 22 games.
Reports in Italy claim that Juve would need a fee of at least €29 million ($34.6 million) to avoid a capital loss from the more than €100 million outlay they made to bring Ronaldo to Turin three years ago.
Ronaldo left Real apparently disgruntled at no longer being seen as indispensable by club president Florentino Perez.
There were also rumblings of pay issues, while Ronaldo was burned by a run-in with the Spanish tax authorities which left him having to pay a fine of around €20 million.
However, bridges were not burned completely, and Ronaldo was pictured enjoying special guest status in a box at the Bernabeu to watch the El Clasico clash with Barcelona in March 2020.
Like Juventus, Real currently appear to be in a stage of flux under manager Zinedine Zidane. They remain in the Champions League, holding a 1-0 lead ahead of their last-16 second leg with Atalanta next week, although they are eight points adrift of city rivals Atletico in the race to retain the La Liga title they won last season.
Ronaldo himself showed little sign of the speculation surrounding him as he took to Instagram on Saturday while the Juve team prepare for their meeting with Cagliari on Sunday.
“More important than the number of falls you take in life, is how fast and how strong you get back on your feet…,” the star wrote to his almost 270 million followers.
“True champions never break! Our focus is already in Cagliari, in the Serie A struggle, in the Italian Cup final and in everything that we can still achieve this season.
“It’s true that the past belongs in museums (I should say!), but fortunately, football has memory… and so do I!
“History can’t be deleted, it’s written every single day with resilience, team spirit, persistence and lots of hard work. And those who don’t understand this, will never achieve glory and success.”