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Trapped in Turin? Ronaldo set to stay at Juventus after Man City, Madrid and PSG links come to nothing

08:00 BST 19/08/2021
Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi Juventus PSG GFX
The Portuguese has lashed out at the media for speculation over his future but yet passed up the opportunity to commit himself to the Bianconeri

With Paris Saint-Germain having signed Lionel Messi, Lille's hopes of retaining their Ligue 1 title have taken quite the blow.

So, Jose Fonte has been texting Cristiano Ronaldo every day, begging his fellow Portuguese to join him at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

"He just answers 'ha ha ha'," the defender told Talksport.

Ronaldo, though, doesn't find press speculation about his future quite so funny.

On Tuesday evening, he took to Instagram to express his displeasure with the latest rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid.

"As well as this most recent episode in Spain, there have been frequent news and stories associating me with a number of clubs in many different leagues, with nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth," Ronaldo wrote.

"I’m breaking my silence now to say that I can’t allow people to keep playing around with my name. I remain focused on my career and in my work, committed and prepared for all the challenges that I have to face.

"Everything else? Everything else is just talk."

And that's a fair point. As always with Ronaldo, actions speak louder than words. He often responds to perceived slights in the best way possible: by scoring more and more goals.

The problem here, though, is that in seemingly trying to quash the speculation, he's only added to it.

Ronaldo may have stated unequivocally that his "story at Real Madrid has been written", effectively ruling out a return to the Santiago Bernabeu, but he didn't confirm he would be staying at Juventus.

In fact, he didn't mention Juventus at all. Not once. And in what was a rather lengthy statement.

Such an oversight was always going to be noticed by concerned fans and pounced upon by the press.

And Ronaldo and his entourage would have known that. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is, as Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri says, "a smart guy". He always knows exactly what he's doing and what he wants.

So, it's difficult not to conclude that the door has been deliberately left ajar. Of course, that doesn't mean that Ronaldo will be able to leave.

He may be the greatest goalscorer in the history of the game but he is by no means a man in demand. The few clubs that could afford him all have other priorities.

Madrid have long dreamed of signing Kylian Mbappe, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are doing their utmost to persuade Tottenham to part company with Harry Kane, while PSG have already snapped up Messi.

In the current economic climate, what other club would be willing, or indeed capable, of paying the €30m (£25/$34m) fee Juve need to avoid making a capital loss on Ronaldo, while at same time matching his current net salary of €31m (£26m/$36m)?

It, thus, seems inevitable that Ronaldo will have no other option but to see out the final year of his Juventus contract, and it would hardly be the end of the world for him.

The return of Massimiliano Allegri as coach is certainly a boost for the Bianconeri, who have gone backwards since his departure in 2019, and Ronaldo is likely to line up alongside Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa in an exciting-looking attack.

Juve have also signed Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo and the dynamic but impressively composed Italy international should significantly strengthen the team's weakest department, the midfield.

However, while the Old Lady looks well placed to reclaim her Serie A crown after last season's dismal fourth-placed finish, it would be a surprise if they immediately re-emerged as Champions League challengers under Allegri.

The expectation is that it will take time for the coach to complete the overhaul he wanted to implement before being forced out in 2019.

And time is a precious commodity as far as Ronaldo is concerned.

He remains a goalscoring machine and an impressive physical specimen but he is 36 now and knows that he will not get many more chances to win the Champions League, or the Ballon d'Or for that matter.

He wants and needs to be playing in a winning team now, which, ironically, given all of their differences, is precisely why his great rival Messi chose to join PSG, a club perfectly primed for another assault on the European Cup.

Indeed, it's easy to understand why Angel Di Maria believes his former Madrid team-mate would jump at the chance to move to the Parc des Princes.

"Cristiano Ronaldo would be dying to be here,” the Argentine told TyC Sports. “The quality and quantity of players at PSG is something unique.

"It doesn’t happen often in clubs and the greats always want to be with the best. Cristiano would certainly like to be here, but they signed Messi, and luckily, it’s better this way."

Not for Ronaldo, of course. 

According to La Repubblica, his agent Jorge Mendes has been trying to secure his client a transfer to Paris for two years, so seeing Messi arrive just two days after suddenly quitting Barcelona must have stung.

The Corriere dello Sport has since claimed that Mendes is now offering Ronaldo to City as an alternative to Kane, but again, such a move makes as much sense as Madrid suddenly giving up on Mbappe, who will be a free agent in a year, in order to re-sign their all-time record goalscorer.

Stranger things have happened in football, of course. This year alone has been utterly absurd and there has been talk of Ronaldo joining PSG if Mbappe moves to Madrid. 

Right now, though, that is "just talk", as Ronaldo put it. As things stand, it seems that Ronaldo has no other option but to stay at Juventus. 

"I think that what's primarily been lacking up until now are offers," Sportitalia TV's renowned transfer market expert Ginaluigi Longari tells Goal.

"It's clear that Juventus can't post a loss on Ronaldo, given how much they've paid for him, and continue to pay him.

"So, it's a very complicated transfer to bring to a conclusion. 

"Jorge Mendes has certainly spoken with several other clubs but in none of those cases did a concrete offer arrive to either Juve or the player.

"Obviously, losing Ronaldo would hurt from a sporting and commercial perspective, it's also true that removing his salary from the wage bill would allow Juventus to invest in other elements to start a new cycle under Allegri.

"But I think that Ronaldo will stay at Juventus until the close of the transfer window, also because trying to replace a player like him in just 10 days would be almost impossible."

Essentially, there really isn't anywhere else for him to go.

Ronaldo looks trapped in Turin.