Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo looks to be increasingly closer to a sensational move to Serie A side Juventus , with talks between the player and the Italian club having progressed within the past week.
The 33-year-old had been expected to retire at the Bernabeu but reports of him being unhappy in Spain have emerged over the past year.
He endured a slow start to the La Liga season with his scoring form, and though he found more success in the Champions League – winning his third title in a row this May – it didn't quell his dissatisfaction.
Real Madrid disappointed in the Spanish league this season as they finished third, and president Florentino Perez's desires to overhaul the club have not been kept secret, with manager Zinedine Zidane having already announced his departure ahead of what was seen to be an inevitable dismissal.
Now, Ronaldo could follow Zidane out the door to Serie A as he looks to dominate yet another portion of European football.
Talk of the Portuguese forward's exit from Madrid heated up following his Champions League victory over Liverpool, where he hinted at a possible departure : “I have won five Champions Leagues and five Ballons d'Or. I had already made history, but now even more.
“I cannot guarantee anything. I'm not going to hide, in the next few days I'll talk... Life is not just about glory.”
Cristiano Ronaldo transfer value & contract
Ronaldo broke records and became the most expensive footballer of all-time when he moved to Madrid from Manchester United in 2009, in a deal that was worth €94m (£83m/$110m).
A similar sky-high fee is expected in the eventuality that he signs for Juventus. The Serie A side are said to still agree a fee with Real, but are expected to pay upwards of €100m (£88m/$117m), though it could still go even higher to €120m.
His contract currently runs until the summer of 2021 , signing an extension on November 2016 with a salary of around £365,000 a week.
Ronaldo's net worth was estimated to be $93m (£71m) by Forbes last year. He was ranked as the fifth-richest celebrity in the world behind P Diddy, Beyonce, Drake and J.K. Rowling.
The clubs who want Cristiano Ronaldo
A number of Europe's top clubs have no doubt been interested in snapping up Ronaldo, who at 33 years of age is still in the form of his life.
He has been long linked with a return 'home' by Manchester United-supporting hopefuls who still consider him to be one of their own.
PSG are another side to have been keen on signing the forward and certainly have the ability to pay his transfer fee after strengthening with the big-money likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Ronaldo's own mother, however, recently state d that she herself favoured a move back to Manchester instead of Paris.
"I like Paris. I go there now and again. The last time was with my son when he won the Ballon D'Or. I felt very proud," she told reporters.
“Every time I go to Paris, everyone treats me very well. If I'm telling you the truth, I wouldn't mind, but I would prefer him to return to Manchester.”
Ronaldo was quick to say that money was not the issue in his cryptic comments following the Champions League final but he certainly would not be a player to go for cheap.
Juventus are offering him a salary package of €30m a year with their wage docket freed up by long-term veteran Buffon's departure.
Blaise Matuidi, who was on media duties in Russia on Wednesday ahead of Friday's World Cup quarter-final with Uruguay, was quizzed on the possibility of playing with the 33-year-old at the Allianz Stadium next season.
"I'm not going to lie it would be just great," Matuidi told reporters . "It would be great to have one of the best players in the world with Juventus in the same club that I am.
"It would be great for the club and for the Juventus players."
Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo's agent, did not confirm his departure but stressed that "if this happens it will only be a new stage and a new challenge in his brilliant career".
"If Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Real Madrid he will be eternally grateful to the club, the president, the whole team, the medical staff, all the staff without exception, the supporters and all the Madridistas around the world," he told Record .
Which club is best for Cristiano Ronaldo?
Ronaldo has previously admitted of his admiration for the Italian side as well as the support and respect of the fans after he netted against the side in their Champions League tie earlier this year.
Madrid eliminated the Italian champions from the European competition and denied veteran Gigi Buffon a chance at lifting the trophy after the Portuguese striker netted a stunning overhead kick in the first leg, which the Italian fans applauded.
"It was an unbelievable moment," the 33-year-old told reporters .
"I have to say thank you, Grazie, to all the supporters of Juventus. What they did for me was amazing."
The forward views the Turin side as the perfect team to increase his reputation as a global star and seeks to dominate yet another sphere of European football after winning the Champions League with both United and Madrid.
He also cites his lack of protection from the Spanish side as one of the reasons for his departure following his issues with Spanish tax authorities (which he has since settled with a €18.8m payoff).
The situation was exacerbated after Madrid were said to be on the constant lookout for a replacement striker, forcing the club to release statements denying that they had made offers for PSG starlets Neymar and Mbappe.