After an embarrassing result, rumours of further discontent are going to come out once more.
In the aftermath of Real Madrid’s humiliating home capitulation against arch rivals Barcelona, a distinctly off-colour Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly confronted Los Blancos president Florentino Perez and demanded Rafael Benitez be removed as head coach, or he would walk.
An event of such magnitude is unlikely to have happened, and if anything of the sort did take place, then a swift apology from Ronaldo’s representatives and blame laid firmly at a “heat of the moment thing” will have diffused any hostilities.
However, something is not right in the Spanish capital, and when there is unrest between one of the most powerful figureheads in world football, and arguably the game’s most global superstar, something has to give.
Ronaldo is not one of Perez’s signings, and in the weird and wonderful world of Spanish footballing politics, such a fact still holds resonance despite Ronaldo’s achievements, and makes a summer exit more likely.
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has stated his desire to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, and build the next United era around their former talisman, but competition is fierce, despite the astronomical asking price.
Paris Saint-Germain represent a major player in such a move. They have made no secret of their wish to bring Ronaldo to the city of love, and certainly have the funds to facilitate the transfer.
They will outbid anything United are willing to pay, and can make Ronaldo mega-rich, but the affection Ronaldo has for his former employer may sway his decision.
All of this is could be deemed irrelevant, though. At the end of the day, two people will most likely decide where Ronaldo will be plying his trade next season.
Jorge Mendes, who we know from the coverage the Ronaldo film gave him, has Ronaldo’s trust, 100%. He is one of, if not the most powerful figure in world football, and he has the ultimate cunning disposition to be able to persuade Ronaldo to do what he says.
The only man who can stop Mendes is Perez, and as previously stated, the Real president wouldn’t object to bringing in a substantial fee for a man he has never regarded as one of his own.
The exasperation was written all over Ronaldo’s face as he trudged off after being taught a footballing lesson by Barcelona on Saturday night.
Quite frankly, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi are streets ahead of Ronaldo at the moment, and their telepathic relationship is only going to get stronger and more fluid – a frightening thought for any opposition.
If you take away Ronaldo’s five goal haul against Espanyol in September, the Portugal captain has netted just three times in 11 league games – astonishing when you consider his consistency throughout a prolific career.
It is not for want of trying. He averages an incredible 6.7 shots per game in La Liga, almost two more than anyone else, and when you consider he is down the goalscoring charts in fourth, that is a poor conversion rate.
Such profligacy can only be adding to his anxiety. The Bernabeu have remarkably never really warmed to him at the best of times, the reception he is getting now as he strops around the pitch is hostile to say the least.
Both Manchester and Paris give Ronaldo what he wants – to be the main man. The almost cringeworthy self-adulation in the film was no act – Ronaldo really does have that high opinion of himself, and is that determined to be the best player, rather than a member of the best team.
Time for change. Every king’s reign has to come to an end, and abdication when still at the peak of one’s powers would be the most fitting end.
About the Author – Pete Hall
Freelance football writer working predominantly for Sky Sports. Also regularly write for Bleacher Report, Eurosport, FourFourTwo and numerous others.