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ESPN FC’s Mark Ogden addresses the latest news on Cristiano Ronaldo and looks ahead to his upcoming press availability.
The FC panel debate the rumours of Cristiano Ronaldo requesting a move out of Spain, possibly back to Manchester United.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says Cristiano Ronaldo’s apparent dissatisfaction is “all very strange,” and that he only learned of the superstar’s unrest through media reports.

Ronaldo, the reigning Ballon d’Or award winner, feels he is being treated unfairly by Spain’s tax authorities, whose “persecution” has made him determined to leave Real Madrid and the country, a source confirmed to ESPN FC.

After initially avoiding the burning question Cristiano Ronaldo’s future during the address he gave to mark his re-election on Monday evening, Perez opened up in an interview on radio station Onda Cero for the first time since the news broke on Friday.

“I have not spoken with Ronaldo,” Perez said. “During the election period, I’ve tried to be respectful and keep out of everything.

“I learned of the [reports] through what a newspaper said. He’s immersed in the Confederations Cup [with Portugal] at the moment, which is an important competition, and for the moment there’s nothing until that ends. Like the all other players, though, he has a contract and is a Real Madrid player.

“In football and life, in general, we encounter situations which we don’t expect and we have to find the best solution for everyone. I know Cristiano and he’s a good guy, not just with the ball, but as a person. This is all very strange, I will have to speak with him to see what’s going on.”

Real Madrid previously released a statement supporting Ronaldo after prosecutors announced that they were seeking &euro14.7 million in taxes they felt the player hid in offshore accounts, and Perez reiterated his belief in Ronaldo’s innonence on Monday.

“I will defend [Ronaldo] at all costs as both a player and as a person. [I have] complete confidence [that he is innocent], he has always wanted to fulfil his fiscal commitments,” Perez said.

“There must be some sort of confusion which will be clarified. What I have been told is that he has the same structure [in Spain] that he had in England — and there was no problem there.

“I’m sure Cristiano wouldn’t want us to pay his fine if there was one, he’s not like that. If he’s angry it’s because he feels unjustly treated.

“I’ve been affected by how the Cristiano news has been treated by the media. The presumption of innocence has not been respected. The only thing I know is that he’s angry about the treatment the media have given him. [Jorge] Mendes called me and told me that.”

Ronaldo, 32, only signed a new deal with Real in November and is under contract until 2021, though his disgruntlement has caused an issue for Perez as he begins his new term as the head of the European and Spanish champions.

When speaking publicly on Monday having ran unopposed to return as president for the next four years, Perez did not reference Ronaldo when discussing the current state of Los Blancos. Perez read a prepared speech and did not take questions from journalists at the event.

In quotes published on Marca’s website, Perez said: “We have built a legendary team with the best players from Spain and the world, but also with many players from our youth academy.

“This is the model that will continue to define Real Madrid. When united, this club is practically indestructible.”

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a move for the Portuguese forward, while Bayern Munich denied interest on Monday.

Perez’s latest four-year term has started as many of his previous ones have — with frenzied transfer speculation about which big-name players might arrive at the club and, perhaps more crucially in this instance as Ronaldo’s future dominates the headlines, who might end up leaving.

The Madrid electoral board met overnight and, with no other candidate putting themselves forward for election ahead of the deadline, it was confirmed that the long-serving Perez would continue in the role, taking his overall stay in the position to 18 years.

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.


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