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Ronaldo won’t quit, says Real Madrid club boss

Cristiano Ronaldo will be staying at Spanish giants Real Madrid and no offer has been received to tempt him away, club president Florentino Perez insisted on Tuesday.

Ronaldo won't quit, says Real Madrid club boss
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League final football match against Juventus on June 3rd. Photo: AFP

Unhappy Ronaldo has been linked to Manchester United and other top clubs after reportedly threatening to leave Real and quit Spain after running into problems with tax authorities.

“Ronaldo is a Real player and will continue to be so as far as we are concerned,” Perez told Marca sports daily Tuesday. “No offer has been received for him.”

Ronaldo is accused of evading €14.7 million in tax, and has been summoned to appear before a judge in Spain on July 31st, judicial sources told AFP on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Portuguese star is facing four charges of fraud through offshore companies between 2011 and 2014.

Ronaldo has denied the charges.

According to media reports, Ronaldo is unsettled at Madrid because he believes Real did not back him as fully as he had hoped in his dispute with the taxman.

And he has also complained on multiple occasions in the past at his treatment at the hands of Real supporters, who have resorted to jeering and booing his performance on the pitch.

In an earlier report Marca said Ronaldo has told his teammates he was leaving and “there is no turning back”.

Portuguese sports daily A Bola had also claimed that Perez had already been informed of the 32-year-old's decision.

However, Perez said that he had not spoken to Ronaldo, who is on duty for Portugal at the Confederations Cup in Russia, which ends on July 2nd.    

Even so, Perez said he was convinced Ronaldo would stay and affirmed that his Real contract was protected by a €1 billion release clause.

“I have not spoken with him. We don't want to disturb his concentration with the national team,”  said Perez.

“But something really bizarre would have to happen if he were to leave this club.”

Perez said he could understood why the four-times world player of the year had been upset after he was accused last week of evading taxes.

Big challenge

He said that Ronaldo had clearly done nothing wrong and Perez was appalled that the “presumption of innocence is not respected” by the media who have branded the played a delinquent.

Perez, a 70-year-old construction magnate, was elected unopposed Monday for a third term in charge of Europe's most successful club.

His first big challenge is keeping Ronaldo at the club he joined in 2009 from Manchester United for a record €94 million ($105.3 million).

There has been speculation that Ronaldo is trying to put pressure on Real so that they will bear some of the burden of an eventual fine for tax evasion as Barcelona did for Lionel Messi.

Manchester United have so far made no comment on reports they are interested in buying back the player for an estimated 200 million euros, on top of the release fee.

Since extending his contract in November until 2021, Ronaldo is according to Forbes the highest paid sports star in the world with $93 million (€83 million) in 2016-2017.

Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are also reported to be interested but Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge denied the German champions would make an offer.

“We are accustomed to intensive speculation on possible arrivals and departures during the transfer period,” wrote Rummenigge in the statement.

“As a rule, we do not comment on these rumours. But now in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, we want to clarify once and for all that this rumour has no basis and must be referred to in the realm of fables.”

Under Perez, Real Madrid have won three Champions League titles in four seasons. The club – which also won La Liga last season – lead the way in the elite European competition with 12 trophies.

By Michaela Cancela-Kieffer

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Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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