Football

Zidane pleads with Ron to stay at Real

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane broke off his holiday to call Cristiano Ronaldo in a bid to persuade his unsettled star not to quit the club, Spanish sports daily Marca claimed yesterday.

Ronaldo, on Confederations Cup duty in Russia with Portugal, is reportedly furious over a tax probe into the off shore accounts dealing with his image rights, and has reportedly vowed to leave Spain.

"I am leaving Real Madrid," Spanish sports daily Marca quoted Ronaldo telling his Portuguese colleagues.

"I have made a decision. There is no turning back."

According to Marca, when Zidane heard Ronaldo had sworn to quit, he broke off from his family holiday and called his No. 7 to tell him Real "need him for his goals, and also his winning mentality".

Marca also reported that Sergio Ramos had called Ronaldo to ask him to stay.

In just 265 games for Real, Ronaldo has scored 285 goals, winning three Champions League finals in four seasons.

The 32-year-old is the latest superstar to come under scrutiny for tax evasion after Lionel Messi was handed a 2.1-million-euro (S$3.2 million) fine last year for avoiding paying taxes on part of the income he earned from image rights via companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay.

Ronaldo is accused of defrauding the authorities of 14.7m euros in tax through offshore companies.

Meanwhile, Paris St Germain are prepared to make Ronaldo the most expensive player in history, Corriere dello Sport reported.

It claimed that the Ligue 1 side are already in talks with the Portuguese's agent, Jorge Mendes, and are ready to offer the player a salary of 30m euros a year.

Mendes claimed that the Portuguese has offers from Premier League clubs, including Manchester City.

Any club hoping to lure Ronaldo away from Real will have to put together a package worth 400m euros, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. 
- WIRE SERVICES

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