Cristiano Ronaldo's unrest 'all very strange,' says Real Madrid president
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says Cristiano Ronaldo's apparent dissatisfaction is "all very strange" but that both he and the club expect the superstar to stay at the Bernabeu this summer.
Ronaldo, the reigning Ballon d'Or award winner, indicated he feels he is being treated unfairly by Spain's tax authorities, whose "persecution" has made him determined to leave Real Madrid and the country, a source confirmed to ESPN FC.
After initially avoiding the burning question about Ronaldo's future during the address he gave to mark his re-election on Monday evening, Perez opened up in an interview on radio station Onda Cero for the first time since the news broke on Friday.
"I have not spoken with Ronaldo," Perez said. "During the election period, I've tried to be respectful and keep out of everything.
"I learned of the [reports] through what a newspaper said. He's immersed in the Confederations Cup [with Portugal] at the moment, which is an important competition, and for the moment there's nothing until that ends. Like the all other players, though, he has a contract and is a Real Madrid player.
"In football and life, in general, we encounter situations which we don't expect and we have to find the best solution for everyone. I know Cristiano and he's a good guy, not just with the ball, but as a person. This is all very strange, I will have to speak with him to see what's going on."
Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a move for the Portuguese forward, while Bayern Munich denied interest on Monday.
But Perez was adamant that Real Madrid were not prepared to allow Ronaldo to move on.
"Not I nor anyone at Madrid is contemplating that Cristiano could leave the club," Perez said. "He is not a business -- he forms part of this club's history. He's at the level of [Madrid legend Alfredo] Di Stefano."
Real Madrid previously released a statement supporting Ronaldo after prosecutors announced that they were seeking €14.7 million in taxes they felt the player hid in offshore accounts, and Perez reiterated his belief in Ronaldo's innocence on Monday.
"I will defend [Ronaldo] at all costs as both a player and as a person. [I have] complete confidence [that he is innocent], he has always wanted to fulfill his fiscal commitments," Perez said.
"There must be some sort of confusion which will be clarified. What I have been told is that he has the same structure [in Spain] that he had in England -- and there was no problem there.
"I'm sure Cristiano wouldn't want us to pay his fine if there was one -- he's not like that. If he's angry it's because he feels unjustly treated.
"I've been affected by how the Cristiano news has been treated by the media. The presumption of innocence has not been respected. The only thing I know is that he's angry about the treatment the media have given him. [Ronaldo's agent Jorge] Mendes called me and told me that."
Ronaldo, 32, signed a new deal with Real only in November and is under contract until 2021, though his disgruntlement has caused an issue for Perez as he begins his new term as the head of the European and Spanish champions.
The Madrid electoral board met overnight and, with no other candidates putting themselves forward for election ahead of the deadline, it was confirmed that the long-serving Perez would continue in the role, taking his overall stay in the position to 18 years.
When speaking publicly on Monday, after having run unopposed to return as president for the next four years, Perez did not reference Ronaldo when discussing the current state of Los Blancos. Perez read a prepared speech and did not take questions from journalists at the event.
"We have built a legendary team with the best players from Spain and the world, but also with many players from our youth academy," Perez said. "This is the model that will continue to define Real Madrid. When united, this club is practically indestructible."
ESPN FC correspondent Sam Marsden contributed to this report.