THERE WAS definitely an air of scepticism which accompanied the news that broke on Thursday which suggested that Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo had been offered to Barcelona.
No one, if anyone, believed it was true and the confirmation of the same has come as the Portugal captain’s team denied he wants to leave Juventus. So, that closes the lid on that. But there is no denying that instead of the archetypal Messi vs Ronaldo talk which constantly dominates the headlines, the two actually coming together as part of the same team, would have been the biggest, and arguably the greatest, strike pairing the world would have ever seen.
In the past couple of weeks, Ronaldo was linked with a move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain and, now following The Old Lady’s departure from the Champions League, he has apparently been offered out elsewhere. That is where Barca was punted as a possible destination – which has since been denied – but it still remains speculative where the five-time Ballon d’Or recipient may be headed, should he leave.
Talk of his move was fuelled by Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, who claimed that Juventus wanted to sell the player to reduce their wage bill, per previous reportage. The 35-year-old’s deal runs until 2022 with his wage bill reportedly amounting to £28M (R626 million) per year, which means he out-earn the club’s next top-earner, Matthijs de Ligt, by nearly four times.
Ronaldo moved to Juventus in the summer of 2018, after winning a third Champions League in-a-row with Real Madrid, having already become the club’s all-time top scorer. He was signed with the purpose of winning the European title for the Old Lady, who haven’t won it since 1996.
But after being bundled out by Lyon 2-2 on aggregate on Friday last week, despite winning the second-leg last 16 encounter 2-1 thanks to a CR7 double strike, things have just not gone to plan for the Serie A champions, who last month bagged a ninth Scudetto in a row.
Maurizio Sarri was given his marching orders in the immediate aftermath of the Italian’s being knocked out of Champions League contention, and have replaced him with Andrea Pirlo, despite the club’s former midfielder having no experience in the role.
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