Zinedine Zidane has today moved to put the brakes on rumours of a potential return to Real Madrid for Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Juve sent packing
Speculation surrounding the future of legendary attacker Ronaldo has of course taken centre stage in the European media this week.
This comes with the veteran attacker having been sent packing from the Champions League in shock circumstances on Tuesday night.
After being downed by 2 goals to 1 in the tie’s first-leg last month, Juventus welcomed Porto to the Allianz Stadium, confident of securing a turnaround, and booking their spot in the Champions League’s quarter-finals in the process.
When all was said and done, however, despite the visitors having been forced to navigate both the majority of the 2nd-half, and extra-time, with 10 men, it was Porto who emerged victorious, on away goals:
THIS IS TRULY INCREDIBLE!!!!
Sérgio Oliveira scores for 10-man Porto and the visitors are on the brink of going through!
WHAT. A. GAME! pic.twitter.com/PkUAlrfxd5
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 9, 2021
Amid a host of sub-par performances on the part of Juventus’ stars, Cristiano Ronaldo was singled out for particularly harsh criticism post-match, with the Portuguese having struggled to make any sort of telling impact on proceedings.
Former Bianconceri boss Fabio Capello, meanwhile, ruthlessly targeted CR7 for his attempts (or lack thereof) to block Sergio Oliveira’s crucial extra-time free-kick:
“That was an unforgivable error. In my day, you chose the players who went into the wall and they couldn’t be someone afraid of the ball. They were scared of the ball and jumped away from it, turning their backs.”
“That is unforgivable!”
‘A Juve player’
In turn, with Ronaldo having been brought to Turin in a bid to aid Juve’s efforts to end the club’s lengthy wait for European glory, and the Italian champions looking no closer to actually clinching the Champions League than they were before his arrival, claims have begun to mount that the two parties could opt to go their separate ways this summer.
And one surprise potential landing spot touted over the last 24 hours has been none other than Ronaldo’s former club, Real Madrid.
In fact, word stemming from Spain has gone as far as to suggest that Jorge Mendes, the 36-year-old’s agent, has already held talks with the Bernabeu hierarchy over a summer reunion:
🚨 EXCLUSIVA de @jpedrerol 🚨
— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv) March 12, 2021
If the latest comments on the part of Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane are anything to go by, though, then the club’s fans, for time being at least, need not get their hopes up.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of his side’s meeting with Elche tomorrow afternoon, Zidane was unsurprisingly drawn on the rumours of a sensational Ronaldo return.
The Frenchman, though, was eager to brush the subject off, explaining:
‘You know what he is, what he has done and how much love we have for him.’
‘He made history here, he’s magnificent.’
‘Now, he is a Juve player and I cannot tell you anything about what they (media) are saying. He’s a Juve player and I have to respect these things.’
Real Madrid begin contract extension talks with Raphael Varane and hope to extend his stay at the Bernabeu