Real Madrid’s decision to let Cristiano Ronaldo leave for Juventus in 2018 was “lunacy”, says former Blancos president Ramon Calderon, who thinks the Liga giants are paying the price for parting with a player that was “stupidly sold”.
After nine record-breaking years at Santiago Bernabeu, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner is still delivering the goods for Juventus on a regular basis despite now being 35 years of age.
While Ronaldo has continued to prosper on Italian soil, those he left behind in Spain have struggled to fill the sizeable void his departure created.
Big money has been invested in the likes of Eden Hazard as Real seek to find another attacking talisman, but little value has been found..
Calderon finds it difficult to work out why the Blancos were prepared to do business with a European rival and offload the greatest goalscorer in the club’s illustrious history.
“Since Cristiano was stupidly sold, it was clear that the team needed reinforcements in that position and in others but the sad reality is that the club's accounts are not only bare but are also full of bills to the tune of around 1,000 million - bills that have to be paid," Calderon told reporters at the annual Desafío Nacex paddle tennis tournament.
Zinedine Zidane left his coaching role at Real in the same summer as Ronaldo departed, after delivering a hat-trick of Champions League crowns, but was soon brought back into the dugout as the club faltered in his absence.
The Frenchman did snatch the Liga title away from Barcelona in 2019-20, but is facing more questions on the back of an inconsistent start to the current campaign that has seen surprising setbacks suffered at home and in European competition.
“What happened against Shakhtar and Cadiz left a very bad taste but we have to be optimistic because this team have been through difficult moments before and managed to come through them although obviously, the sensations aren't good,” Calderon added.
He went on to say of Zidane: “He's doing what he can with the resources available to him.
“The Shakhtar performance wasn't good, there were a lot of mistakes, I'm sure in the line-up too, but you cannot pin the blame on one person, it's an accumulation of circumstances, a chain of events which have led to this. It was lunacy to sell Cristiano when they don't have anyone to score goals.”
It has been suggested that Real could turn to another icon from their past if Zidane were to be moved on, with legendary former frontman Raul reportedly being lined up for a promotion from the Castilla ranks in Madrid, but Calderon has warned the Blancos against any rash decisions.
He said of the Raul talk: “I have a great fondness for him and admired him hugely as a player, coach and person, but giving him the job would mean sacking a coach who can make mistakes and surely has made mistakes, but who also won three Champions Leagues on the trot.”