Cristiano Ronaldo personally requested that Real Madrid not sell Angel Di Maria this summer, the Argentina international has claimed.
The former Benfica winger has been persistently linked with a move during the current transfer window, having been pushed down the pecking order at the Bernabeu by the signing of Spanish starlet Isco. Gareth Bale, should he arrive, would further restrict his opportunities.
Di Maria believes the club were considering offloading him but told TyC Sports that Ronaldo had personally intervened to ask senior Madrid figures not to let him leave.
“I found out from elsewhere, not directly from him, that he had done that for me,” the 25-year-old said. “I am very happy that a player like that -- a reference at Madrid -- supports me, asks for me not to leave, as people were saying that it might happen. That is very important.”
Di Maria was speaking amid speculation that a number of players in the Madrid squad had been upset by club president Florentino Perez reportedly offering Tottenham star Bale a €9 million net annual salary.
The story, which appeared in AS, also claimed that Ronaldo was unhappy at the idea of Bale’s €100 million-plus move from Tottenham topping the current world record fee Madrid paid to sign him from Manchester United in 2009.
Ronaldo kept his own counsel when asked during Madrid’s recent pre-season tour of America what he thought about the Bale’s move potentially displacing his own as history's biggest.
“It is not for me to talk about new players,” Ronaldo said then. “I am very happy with the players that I have in the team. But to speak about figures that are being mentioned is for the coach and the president. I have my opinion, but I am not going to say it in front of the cameras.”
Ronaldo’s own future remains up in the air. While Perez has repeatedly claimed an announcement will soon be made on a new deal to tie the Portugal international to the Bernabeu for the remainder of his career, the player himself has regularly suggested that nothing concrete has yet been agreed.