Real president Perez denies Ronaldo rift

World player of the year appeared to criticise summer transfer policy of European champions

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid poses with his Uefa’s Best Player in Europe  award at Grimaldi Forum, Monte Carlo, Monaco, last month. Photograph: Sebastien Nogier / EPA

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid poses with his Uefa’s Best Player in Europe award at Grimaldi Forum, Monte Carlo, Monaco, last month. Photograph: Sebastien Nogier / EPA

 

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez sought to play down an apparent spat with Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday as he announced the La Liga club’s income had surged above €600 million in 2013-14.

Perez, who has splashed hundreds of millions of euros of the European champions’ cash on top players in recent years, said the loyalty of Ronaldo, the current World Player of the Year, had been “unquestionable”.

The Portugal captain made headlines on Monday when he said the club’s transfer dealings in the latest window would probably have been different if he had been in charge. After winning a record-extending 10th European crown last season, when dressing-room heavyweight Ronaldo was the team’s top scorer, Real sold midfielders Xabi Alonso and Angel Di Maria and brought in Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez.

The departure of Alonso to Bayern Munich, in particular, has prompted suggestions the Madrid club will not have enough quality and experience in midfield without him, while Argentine Di Maria is seen as close to Ronaldo.

“I have no doubt that he (Ronaldo) did not want to question the club’s policies,” Perez told a news conference announcing 2013-14 income of a record €603.9 million, a 10.9 per cent jump compared with the previous season.

“He has just presented me with a replica of his ‘Ballon d’Or’ award, an exemplary player,” the construction magnate added. “There are no disagreements, zero.”

Real stuttered in their second La Liga outing at the weekend when they let slip a 2-0 lead and crashed to a 4-2 reverse at Real Sociedad.

Ronaldo (29) missed the game through injury and he followed up his comments on Monday by giving an interview to a British newspaper in which he appeared to suggest he wanted to return to former club Manchester United at some point in his career.

Perez, who pushed through a lucrative contract extension for Ronaldo in September last year that ties him to the club until 2018, defended Real’s decision to sell Alonso and Di Maria.

“His (Di Maria’s) reason ... was that he had financial demands that we could not meet,” Perez told reporters. “Real Madrid made him the best possible offer ... but he had different expectations. No player in the team has that kind of salary, only Ronaldo, who is the best player in the world.

“If we had accepted ... it would have put the club’s financial stability in danger.”

Perez said he had a “very good relationship” with Alonso, who will turn 33 in November, and the player had asked to leave.

“He believes the best way to organise his remaining years of professional life is what he has chosen, both for him and for the club.”

Alonso’s position controlling play in midfield was well covered by Kroos and Asier Illarramendi, he added.

Real’s latest financial figures also showed a post-tax profit of €38.5 million, up 4.4 per cent on a year earlier, and a drop in net debt of 21 per cent to €71.5 million.

The performance suggests they will top Deloitte’s ranking of the world’s richest club’s by income for a 10th consecutive year when the business services firm publishes its updated list early next year.

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