Off The Ball's European football correspondent discusses some of the underlying issues
From time to time, rumours abound that Cristiano Ronaldo could be on his way out at Real Madrid.
On Friday, those rumours swirled in an even brusquer wind than usual with Portuguese daily A Bola claiming that the former Manchester United winger wants to depart with reports stating him to be "angry and upset" by how Spain's authorities have treated him in regards to tax issues.
Off The Ball's European football correspondent Graham Hunter joined Ger Gilroy to shed light on what's going on and the wider issues at play, like the sense of Ronaldo missing the way in which Man United looked after him.
"What I know that gives you context to this is that in and around Cardiff and the Champions League final, he was visited by a number of former team-mates and it surprised them and obviously more than one of them told me, 'I have spoken to him since that weekend' when he won the Champions League, scored and set various new records that his fairly constant refrain during the first handful of years at Real Madrid, that Manchester United was better was still something he was very strong about," said Graham.
"In no way was he saying that he wanted to move to Manchester United. He was saying - and this is practically verbatim - 'If Manchester United were located in the middle of Spain, it would be his ideal club'. He respects and likes everything he was shown and taught there but he respects above all - even above the constant trophy winning and the way in which his relationship with Alex Ferguson became so fruitful in terms of personal development - the club looked after him. He felt beyond cossetted. He felt valued, he felt protected. He felt like the club and manager would go on an aggressive front foot for him at the drop of a hat. He has never felt that at Real Madrid."
Hunter added that over the years, he had assumed that Ronaldo had "come to terms" with the different emphasis Man United and Real Madrid had towards him but that it seems the Portugal captain "is on the warpath" now.
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