Monday, December 4, 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo trains at former club Real Madrid for a second day in a row

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Cristiano Ronaldo has trained at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground for a second day as the 37-year-old looks to keep in shape as he searches for a new club.

The Portuguese star trained alone at the facility on Wednesday, according to Spanish outlet Relevo, following his country’s World Cup exit.

Ronaldo has been a free agent since mutually terminating his contract with Manchester United last month in the wake of his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

It has been reported that the 37-year-old asked Real Madrid president Florentino Perez if he could train at Valdebebas for a few days following his country’s defeat to Morocco in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.

And on Thursday, the forward spent a second day at his former club as reports stated he had returned to the training ground.

Ronaldo cemented his legacy as one of football’s greatest ever players during his nine-year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu after moving to Spain in a then world-record £80million deal from Man United.

He won two LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies at Real, while four of his five Ballon d’Or trophies were awarded to him during his time at the club.

It would have been emotional for Ronaldo to return to the club’s training ground after what has been a tumultuous period for the Portuguese forward since he swapped Real for Juventus in 2018.

But he had to train away from the club’s current batch of players, who are being led by his former manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Ronaldo had a good relationship with Madrid’s president Perez, who declared back in 2019 on Onda Cero: ‘Cristiano Ronaldo has never created a problem in Madrid. He has been an example and I will remember him as the best player we have signed.

‘He has always been exemplary, a professional like the cup of a pine tree. I’ve always had a perfect relationship with him and I’ve never had any personal or money problems.’

However, Ronaldo said Perez’s attitude towards him had changed prior to his departure from the Bernabeu.

‘I felt it inside the club, especially from the president, that they no longer considered me the same way that they did in the start,’ he told France Football in an interview in 2018.

‘In the first four or five years there I had the feeling of being ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. Less afterwards. The president looked at me through eyes that didn’t want to say the same thing, as if I was no longer indispensable to them, if you know what I mean.’

It is a quick return for Ronaldo, with most players being given a week to relax and recover following their respective World Cup exits.

Ronaldo was wasted no time in returning to training, with his search for a new club likely a big factor behind that.

His contract at United was terminated following his interview with Morgan, in which he said he felt ‘betrayed’ by the club and that he ‘didn’t respect’ manager Erik ten Hag.

Drama continued to follow him into the World Cup after he was dropped by manager Fernando Santos for their World Cup matches with Switzerland and Morocco.

This led to reports that he threatened to walk out on Portugal – something which both he and the country’s football federation denied.

He came off the bench in both games, but was unable to make an impression as they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by the African nation.

With the legendary forward set to turn 38 in February his list of options appear to be limited.

One interested party in Ronaldo’s services is reportedly Antero Henrique, head of the Qatar Stars League.

Henrique is said to have gone straight to Ronaldo to express an interest in bringing him back to the gulf nation following the World Cup.

He is hoping Ronaldo will join a Qatari club but the player’s agent Jorge Mendes is working on a different proposal, the report claims.

There had also been reports that Ronaldo could join Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr on January 1.

But sources close to Ronaldo told Sportsmail reports of a deal being complete were ‘nonsense’.

Ronaldo’s search for a new club could be done without the help of his agent Jorge Mendes.

It has been reported that his near two-decade relationship with Mendes is starting to fall apart with the player and agent seemingly disagreeing over his next destination.

The Portuguese star’s financial demands don’t help if he wishes to remain in Europe.

Ronaldo kissed goodbye to £16million after leaving his £500,000-a-week contract at Man United seven months early.

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