El Centrocampista

Cristiano Ronaldo wants more than money from Real Madrid

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Pre-meditated or simply ill judged, Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent declaration of unhappiness following Real Madrid’s victory over Granada has certainly caused a stir in Spain. Unsurprising really, when you consider the country has unemployment levels fast approaching five million and a financial crisis that threatens to topple another government. Some of the most damming criticism came from the north, in particular Catalonia, where Barcelona legend Carles Rexach branded Ronaldo’s claims as ‘sacrilege’ before questioning what exactly the multi-millionaire player had to be sad about.

The initial response from many was that Ronaldo is after more money. Madrid’s sports dailies, Marca and Diario AS both followed similar lines with the former claiming the Portuguese star was even lagging behind nine other players in a list of Europe’s best paid footballers. Although those figures may be some way off the mark, the furore caused perfectly sums up the mood of many in a country experiencing its worst recession in living memory. Ronaldo himself was quick in his retort, suggesting the cause for his sadness was ‘professional’ not financial.

Indeed, while the cause of Ronaldo’s angst may not, on the face of it, be anything to do with the salary he receives at Real Madrid, paradoxically, it could be everything to do with the salary he receives at Real Madrid. Alvaro Arbeloa suggested his tempestuous team mate just needed “more affection from everybody” and therein lies much of the problem for Ronaldo – a player who is now arguably the best in the world after a fantastic season for both club and country.

While it may seem obscene that someone said to receive €10 million a year could be disenchanted with his lot, in a world where status is measured by your payslip, Ronaldo feels he is underappreciated by the Spanish champions – somewhat understandable considering Brazilian misfit Kaka is said to receive a similar salary, despite having little place in Jose Mourinho’s plans.

It is also no coincidence that Ronaldo’s admission came just days after Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta picked up Uefa’s Best Player in Europe award, despite having a less than perfect domestic season with the Catalans. True, Iniesta was Spain’s stand-out performer during Euro 2012, however, the midfielder managed just two goals during an uncharacteristically inconsistent league campaign in which Barcelona lost their three year grip on the crown. Ronaldo, meanwhile, scored an incredible 46 times and was instramental in Real Madrid’s charge to the title – leading many to suggest he had finally done enough to pip nemesis Lionel Messi to one of the major individual accolades.

Yet as Andres Iniesta became the third successive Barcelona recipient of the award – if you count Messi’s 2009 Ballon d’Or, it is somewhat understandable that Ronaldo felt some level of injustice. Nonetheless, the blame lies neither with Ronaldo nor the journalists who cast the deciding votes. Instead, Ronaldo’s club and indeed his team mates are surely most culpable.

There is little doubt Barcelona have spent a number of years developing a strategic approach to winning individual accolades, and are now well versed in those manoeuvres. Compare the very public support Iniesta was given by team mates at the Camp Nou this season to the recognition – or indeed lack of it, that Ronaldo received from those at the Bernabeu. While Messi and Xavi Hernandez told anybody that would listen that Iniesta should win the award this year, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos,  Xabi Alonso and Marcelo were instead championing  Iker Casillas and not the man who is undoubtedly their best and most influential player, on the pitch at least.

Few can surely be surprised by what is an inherent and systematic problem at the Bernabeu however. There have been many suggestions of player unrest within a dressing room often ruled by cliques, indeed the pressure got so bad last season that Mourinho himself sought refuge elsewhere.  Nevertheless, Ronaldo is a consummate professional, despite the histrionics and self-adulation, and has quickly moved to reassure fans that he is dedicated to the club and their continued quest for success.

However, for a player that also needs to feel valued, there is also a sense that the lack of support could see Ronaldo’s relationship with Real Madrid deteriorate even more. After all, if the club doesn’t appreciate their most important player, how can others?


This article also features on Football Espana – The website for English-speaking fans of Spanish football, brought to you by the team behind football-italia.net


  1. leo

    10 September, 2012 at 20:11

    If Ronaldo’s 46 goals were incredible, kindly describe Messi’s 50 goals for us. You say ronaldo did enough for ‘many’ to believe he had pipped Messi to the title of best player in the world? May you kindly go through all the individual statistics and tell us where Ronaldo did better than Messi. You are one of those people who think winning laliga entitles someone to the crown of best player? If its about trophies, then casillas, ramos and arberloa, Pirlo, Drogba, Mata, Torres, Ballotelli etc are ahead of ronaldo because they further went on to play in the final of euro 2012 (a competition in which Messi couldnt participate, so I wonder how you can use it as a measure in this case). The player who deserves the euro and ballon dor is undoubtedly Messi if it is about individual ability! Pure and simple!!!!

    • Jake

      11 September, 2012 at 02:21

      Well then what about 2011? By your standards ronaldo should have won the ballon dor after that season where his playing and scoring rate was much better than messi’s.

      • Messi

        11 September, 2012 at 04:19

        Messi scored more total goals than Ronaldo in 2011 and also led the Champs league in scoring while winning the double. Ronaldo didnt even lead the league in scoring in 2012. Thats the difference

  2. Name

    11 September, 2012 at 03:27

    people should put sentiment into this since goals and personal effors are some of the criterials then messi will click it with 5O goals. if it is trophies then give it to a player from chelsea or spain.

  3. Name

    11 September, 2012 at 03:27

    people should not put sentiment into this since goals and personal effors are some of the criterials then messi will click it with 5O goals. if it is trophies then give it to a player from chelsea or spain.

  4. haris

    11 September, 2012 at 10:53

    Iniesta is not a goal-scorer. Why everybody forgets? And Iniesta is not playing in England. He is playing in Spain and FC Barcelona where his primary job is to find a killing ball towards the Forwards.

    Why always a players achievement measured in terms of Goals he scored over the season or the tournament? People need to rebuff the pattern of analyzing Football as a game not and players as their position they hold. Not by how much scores they have scored.

    Iniesta probably lacks in terms of scoring goals when compared to Ataccking Mid-Fielders like Frank Lampard of Chelsea/England but has he lacks anywhere to anyone in terms of assists?

    Hell NO!

  5. Neil

    12 September, 2012 at 21:22

    This is a retarded piece of journalism. I don’t mean to be insulting, but if you judge footballing standards by number of goals scored then your footballing brain is small. Xavi is not a great player because of his goals, but by providing the platform so others can score. Iniesta does the same function for club and country. Ronaldo does not have more right to an individual accolade just because he scores more.

  6. M. G.

    12 September, 2012 at 22:52

    Ronaldo is not the first in Madrid’s history to complain about his treatment at the club. What complicates the problem is that he is Portuguese and if you read the Spanish commentary in Marca, you will come across many racist comments directed at the Portuguese by Spaniards. Mourinho once said that in Spain if you are Portuguese you have to be twice as talented as your Spanish teammate in order to play. Although he says it’s not a money issue, his take home pay will be greatly reduced when the new Spanish tax laws take effect. It could also be that Ronaldo felt slighted because many players on Real Madrid had their contracts renegotiated. Perhaps Ronaldo is not happy with Madrid having 5O percent of his image rights; one can only guess what the true reason is for his discontent.

    With regards to the Balon d’Or, I do believe Ronaldo was more influential in his club’s success and therefore deserves the award. If you believe the award is given to the player who is the most talented, then Messi and Iniesta are good choices, however Ronaldo had the better season.

    Iniesta is a football genius a complete player with great vision and the ability to beat players at a walking pace. Iniesta was a key player in Spain’s victory at the Euros, but he had a subpar season in La Liga, a season plagued with injuries.

    Messi, dubbed already as the greatest player of all time, has the unmatched ability to cut the ball across his body at top speed, something you would only think possible on a smooth surface in indoor football. Many argue he had the best season because he scored 73 goals and won 4 titles, however two of those titles were of minor significance, involving 1, 2 game affairs; another was symbolic again a two game affair, and the other was the Copa del Rey. The fact is Messi scored at his highest rate against weak opposition late in the season when La Liga had already been decided, much like the meaningless goals Ronaldo scored late in the previous season. Messi converted 4 dubious penalties against 2 bottom La Liga teams in the third and second last games of the season to break the La Liga scoring record. And before people start saying that Ronaldo went more times to the penalty spot last year, check the facts you will find that is not the case. With half the season gone Messi had one or two away goals, while Ronaldo was well on his way to break the away goal record.

    Ronaldo is a complete player, if you doubt that, I suggest you watch his performance against Barca in the Camp Nou last year in the Copa del Rey, a match in which Barca’s woes were alleviated by the controversial expulsion of Sergio Ramos. Ronaldo, has world class one touch passing skills in close quarters, he is one of if not the best headers of the ball in the game, he is the most two footed player in football, making crosses with his left and scoring with his left from outside the box; he is an imposing figure at 6’1” coming at you at full speed with the ball tight to his feet. Ronaldo scored more critical goals than anyone last season, he carried Real Madrid. He was the first player to score against every team in La Liga in one season. He also broke the away goal scoring record. He had the better season, no question.

    • Omar

      20 September, 2012 at 19:53

      M.G. would you like to write some editorials for my website? I like your writing style and you seem to have some extensive knowledge.

      Here’s my website: http://www.fu6bol.com go to the Write for Us tab at the top and contact me if you’re interested.


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