Earns €10 million per annum. Plays for Real Madrid. Has won every major club honour there is. Voted in the top three World Players of the Year four times in the last five years. Doesn’t sound like too much reason for Cristiano Ronaldo to be sad does there? Ronaldo scored two goals in Real Madrid’s victory over Granada at the weekend and said post-match "I am sad and the club knows it, that's why I didn't celebrate the goals. The people in the club know why."
Yes unbelievably there are claims that despite earing €10 million a year Ronaldo wants more money. It was only five months ago Ronaldo stated he wanted to sign a new contract at Real Madrid (despite having three years to run on his current deal) and this was followed by him telling the football world he wanted to finish his career at his beloved Madrid. However with all his goals, Madrid winning the league and his performances to lead Portugal to the semi-finals of the European Championships the stock of this superstar has risen.
If Ronaldo does want more money problems may arise for Madrid due to the scrapping of the tax loophole which grants a favourable tax rate to highly-paid foreign workers. The loophole is otherwise known as the ‘Beckham Law’ due to David Beckham becoming one of the first foreigners to take advantage of it following its introduction in June 2005. Without this law Ronaldo would face a tax bill of around the 40% mark on any new contract. Ronaldo claiming he is ‘sad’ hasn’t gone down well in Spain and the early claims it was due to money didn’t help matters with the country in the midst of a recession with 4.6m people claiming unemployment benefits every month.
Following the early claims of his sadness being due to money Ronaldo released this statement on Twitter:
"That I am feeling sad and have expressed this sadness has created a huge stir. I am accused of wanting more money, but one day it will be shown that this is not the case, At this point, I just want to guarantee to the Real Madrid fans that my motivation, dedication, commitment and desire to win all competitions will not be affected, I have too much respect for myself and for Real Madrid to ever give less to the club than all I am capable of.”
So Ronaldo is strongly denying that he is ‘sad’ because of money but his agent Jorge Mendes has said that he is “perfectly comfortable” with the reasons of his sadness which could suggest money is major factor. According to Spanish newspaper Marca Ronaldo is currently the tenth best player in the world earning half Samuel Eto’s yearly salary of €20m (table shown below). Surely Ronaldo and Mendes will see this and be seeking another payday if he is valued by Madrid how he feels he should be.
Let’s face it Ronaldo should be given an enormous amount of respect, yes Madrid pay him hefty wages and paid a world-record £80 million to sign him but for all he has done for them he deserves respect and more affection, if that’s what he wants. He was a vital player for them last season in winning La Liga, has scored 150 goals in 149 games and is performing in the big games, scoring in both El-Classicos so far this season.
Ronaldo perhaps doesn’t feel the valued because of his contract and possibly due to the lack of affection from teammates. Some Spanish press reported his frustrations over the summer when Marcelo stated that Iker Casillas should win the Ballon d’Or and gave praise to Lionel Messi. In addition to this Sergio Ramos congratulated Andres Iniesta on winning UEFA’s European Player of the Year. Ronaldo feels that he should be winning the awards and wants the support from his teammates to achieve it. Due to this there appears to be divisions within the Real Madrid squad, not for the first time during Mourinho’s tenure. Ronaldo’s close relationship with compatriot boss Mourinho and the fact they share the same agent could possibly also elevate some friction with players as it shows favouritism.
Quoted in Marca, Ronaldo’s teammate Alvaro Arbeloa told reporters at the Spanish national team's base in Las Rozas:
"He just needs more affection from everybody, I don't know, that's all we can give him. Everybody has the right to be sad; he's a person just like anyone else. He doesn't share the problems of most Spanish people but it's perfectly reasonable that he can be sad.
The game against Granada was difficult for Cristiano due to it being the seventh anniversary of the death of his father. This was a possible reason as to why he was sad but it was one which he denied saying “professional reasons” were the subject of his sadness. Ronaldo has always been someone who likes to feel valued, at Manchester United he had a close relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Alex knew how to man manage him and knew he was a player that needed an arm round him. He also had a great relationship with the Manchester United players and was hugely successful. When at his peak at United in 2008 he was untouchable and there was no-one else in the league near him, he didn’t have to see all the plaudits go to Lionel Messi, he didn’t have to miss out on every award to a Barcelona player because he was winning them all. Now at Madrid he’s experiencing a stark contrast in his relationship with teammates and his personal success in terms of awards.
Despite his denials Ronaldo and his agent will more than likely be looking for a large pay increase to make him as close to if not the top earner in world football. They say money can’t buy you happiness well maybe if you’re Ronaldo €10 million can’t but €20 million can. As for his future at Real Madrid it is highly unlikely he will leave in the near future. Even though he has expressed his sadness he would have surely said this weeks ago if he wanted an immediate move? To express it now, ironically just as the transfer window has closed suggests he is not looking to move at all. It is also may be cynical to think this but Ronaldo has said this just as we have entered an international break for two weeks and there is very little for the football media and press to write/talk about at present.
Former Barcelona player and coach Carles Rexach has been less than supportive of Ronaldo’s comments.
"If Cristiano is sad, people should go into the streets and cry," the Catalan sarcastically remarked. “Ronaldo can't ask for more from life. He's a top player, he has everything. He is physically fit, well-built, has money, success, is one of the best players in the world. I don't know what else he wants, so for him to be sad is sacrilege."
Maybe he wants more money. Maybe he wants more affection. Maybe he wants more personal accolades. Maybe he is still regretting not taking a penalty for Portugal. We will find out in due course and see just how much Madrid love and value their superstar but it will come at a heavy price.