Madrid – Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Spanish champions Real Madrid because is unhappy there, according to media reports on Monday.
This is the interpretation – by AS, Sport and Mundo Deportivo, among other media outlets – that has been put on his surprising words after scoring twice in Real's 3-0 trouncing of Granada on Sunday.
Ronaldo did not celebrate his goals, and afterwards said: “I do not celebrate my goals when I am sad. I am sad due to a professional issue that the club knows about. That is why I was not celebrating,” Ronaldo said.
“I am not happy, the people here know why. I am not going to talk more about this, there are more important things.”
Ronaldo was substituted after taking a heavy blow to the left knee, but insisted that he would be fit for Portugal's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.
“I am not well but I want to play for Portugal. I want to play because these are important games for us.”
AS, Sport and Mundo Deportivo said Ronaldo told Real president Florentino Perez on Saturday that he wanted to leave the club because Real were not doing enough to help him get the Fifa World Player award, won by Barcelona's Lionel Messi for the past three years.
The reports said that Ronaldo was enfuriated by Real left-back Marcelo saying last week that the award should go to Real keeper Iker Casillas.
Last week, Ronaldo finished third in the Uefa Best Player in Europe Award for the 2011-2012 season, behind Andres Iniesta and Messi of Barcelona, and looked rather miserable at the award ceremony in Monte Carlo.
But AS said that what is really upsetting Ronaldo is that his contract, which runs until 2015, has not yet been renewed.
He is on a salary of around €10 million. That makes him the highest-paid player in Spain but not in the world, given that Paris St Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala are earning more.
According to AS, Ronaldo is annoyed at the recent top-level tax increases in Spain and has asked Perez for a pay rise to compensate.
Another interpretation, offered by society magazines, is that Ronaldo's sadness is due to a break-up with Irina Shayk, a prominent Russian model.
His Sunday outburst led to strong criticism from Real fans on blogs and social media, with many of them asking how a person earning so much money can be sad – and in a country with more than five million people unemployed.
Ronaldo is still not popular with many fans although he has scored many goals and won many matches for Real. Radio Marca said on Monday that “he does not enjoy a good feeling with many fans ... There is not much warmth towards him.”
Ronaldo, 27, joined Real from Manchester United in 2009 for a world record fee of €96 million.
He scored the winning goal in the 2011 Spanish cup final against Barcelona - Real's first trophy since 2008 - and guided the whites to the Liga title last season. He has scored 150 goals for Real in 149 appearances in all competitions.
Nonetheless, he is frequently criticized by the fans for not being a “team player” and for allegedly putting his own glory before the interests of the side.
His explosive words on Sunday will certainly not help him to build up a better relationship with the fans. – Sapa-dpa