Cristiano Ronaldo. Picture: SUPPLIED
Cristiano Ronaldo. Picture: SUPPLIED

Madrid — Florentino Perez’s first task after being re-elected as Real Madrid president on Monday will be to appease superstar Cristiano Ronaldo amid speculation that the four-time world player of the year wants to leave.

"As no other candidature was put forward to the board … it is proclaimed that Mr Florentino Perez Rodríguez is president of Real Madrid," the Spanish and European champions said in a statement.

The 70-year-old construction magnate’s third term in charge of Europe’s most successful club spanning 15 years — 2000 to 2006 and since 2009 — was rubber-stamped at a ceremony at the Santiago-Bernabeu Stadium on Monday night.

And among the first issues he will have to deal with is Ronaldo, who he bought in 2009 from Manchester United for a record €94m. Ronaldo is threatening to leave Spain after running into problems with tax authorities.

Last week, the Portuguese international was accused of €14.7m in tax evasion through offshore companies.

Ronaldo is in Russia competing for the European champions in the Confederations Cup.

According to Spanish sports daily Marca, Ronaldo told his teammates: "I’m leaving Real. I have made a decision. There is no turning back."

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

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

Among the clubs reported to be interested in Ronaldo is former club Manchester United for a fee that could hit €200m, with a possible get-out clause of €1bn.

According to Forbes, since extending his contract until 2021 in November, Ronaldo has been the highest paid sports star in the world with $93m in 2016-17.

Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Chelsea are also reported to be interested.

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.

Perez’s opponents have criticised reforms in the club statutes that have toughened criteria for aspiring candidates.

Candidates must now have been a member of Real for more than 20 years, compared to the old requirement of 10 years, and have a personal fortune of more than €75m.

AFP

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