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Marco Verratti crushes teammates in PSG ultimatum

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When asked if he wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain, Marco Verratti gave an answer sure to turn the heads of his teammates in the French capital.

Transfer rumors have swirled around the Italian midfielder all summer, and he finally addressed the situation in Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport. When asked if he wanted to leave, Verratti said he’d like to stay, but if he is to do so, the club must come through in the transfer window.

“It’s not that I want to go at all costs,” Verratti said. “It’s just I want to see if they really do build a great squad this time. In that case, I would be happy to stay.”

“Each year they say they are going to build a great squad, but we’ve seen the results. Promises are not enough. If, on the other hand, this time PSG with [sporting director Antero] Henrique stick to what they say, then I will be absolutely happy to stay. At the end of the day, nobody is forcing me to leave.”

It’s one thing for a player to say he thinks the club needs reinforcements in the summer, but Veratti goes all in here. For the Italian to claim that promises had been broken and good players were not brought in, that’s a ruthless aside to his current teammates.

Media reports have linked Verratti with a move away from Parc de Princes all summer. The 24-year-old has been most heavily linked with Barcelona, although clubs like Bayern Munich and Chelsea have been mentioned. According to a number of reports, Verratti turned down a new PSG contract as recently as last week in a meeting with the sporting director.

Report: Manchester United outbidding giants for PSG’s Marquinhos

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Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte says Manchester United has made the best offer to Paris Saint-Germain in a three-team giant battle for Marquinhos.

According to the report, the transfer fight is between United, Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, though only the first three sides have lodged bids.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Barca’s offer is said to be the lowest, around $50 million, while United is said to be willing to pay a staggering $78 million for the 23-year-old Brazilian.

Marquinhos has made 155 appearances for PSG since joining from Roma in 2013. He’s reliably made 40-plus appearances over the past three seasons, and has 17 caps for Brazil.

A terrific defender who excels in keeping possession, Marquinhos has also played some right back for PSG.

Latest on Ronaldo: PSG offer readied for Perez meeting

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Cristiano Ronaldo will meet with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez at the conclusion of the Confederations Cup, according to reports, at which point a pair of cut-and-dried options could be on the table.

Paris, or the status quo.

Marca reports that Ronaldo will bring a “money no object” offer from Paris Saint-Germain into the meeting, although the same outlet says Perez will know exactly what’s coming due to an understanding between the two big money clubs.

[ MORE: Juve confirms Alves release ]

The 32-year-old Ronaldo remains in fine form at the Confederations Cup, with Portugal’s unbeaten run continuing in Russia. If Portugal is upset by New Zealand in its group stage finale on June 24, it would still stand a good chance of proceeding to the knockout rounds depending on the Mexico-Russia result.

That means the Perez-Ronaldo meeting wouldn’t occur until after July 2, which is when the Final and third-place playoff are scheduled in Russia.

In the meantime, Real manager Zinedine Zidane is said to be cutting his vacation short to meet with Perez regarding not just Ronaldo’s future but the club’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe (which is a bit over-dramatic given the above news. Feels like a phone call could get the job done).

Could anyone justify the exorbitant cost of signing Cristiano Ronaldo?

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Reports are sailing left and right that Cristiano Ronaldo has decided he wants to leave Real Madrid less than a month after winning his second consecutive Champions League title.

This nonsense surfaces every single summer, usually the result of an agent jockeying for a new contract for his client. However, this summer they seem to be more rampant than we have seen in the past, and it has perked up ears not raised previously.

Even if the reports are true, and Ronaldo wants out of Real Madrid, he just last summer signed a contract through the summer of 2021, and that means his only 2 ways out of Spain are the expiration of said contract, or a transfer. Should he not wish to wait four more years, he would require a buyer and a seller to get him a new club.

So with that in mind, is a transfer for Cristiano Ronaldo truly realistic this summer? It doesn’t appear so.

Let’s get two things out of the way right now: There is no way Real Madrid president Florentino Perez lets Ronaldo leave for less than a world record transfer, and there is no way Ronaldo takes a pay cut.

[ MORE: The ramifications of signing Cristiano Ronaldo ]

No matter what his worth on the field is given his talent, age, etc, Cristiano Ronaldo is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Real Madrid just by being Cristiano Ronaldo. He is an icon. His celebrity status, his larger than life persona, and his glittering lifestyle all contribute to dollar signs for the club. A club that purchases Ronaldo isn’t just buying his on-field production, they are buying the biggest celebrity in the game. Therefore, while it’s debatable how much he is actually worth as an anonymous soccer player, he would probably require at least a $130 million transfer fee, if not much, much more.

Secondly, as mentioned above, it’s impossible to imagine Cristiano Ronaldo taking a pay cut. Could he want to leave Real Madrid? Maybe. Is it realistic that he wants to leave Real Madrid enough to give up a significant chunk of his reported $800,000 per-week salary plus hefty bonuses? (Forbes estimates he earned a total of $58 million in salaries and bonuses before taxes last year) Probably not. That mark is more than anything a status symbol, one which Ronaldo is unlikely to relent.

So that leaves us with the following question: would anyone out there be willing to commit around $350 million in total, if not more? What club could justify paying a world record transfer fee and handing out the Premier League’s heftiest salary (by far) for a 32-year-old striker that just forced his way out of a club?

None. Not a single club would be able to financially justify such a hemorrhaging of cash.

[ MORE: Portugal to meet Mexico in Confederations Cup ]

Manchester United, his former club, is the obvious connection and probably the only team that could hurtle cash at such an obvious black hole. But the Red Devils already have one of – if not the – biggest worldwide fanbase in the global game, would they they truly benefit enough from the wave of jersey sales and PR campaigns that would come with the purchase of the game’s biggest superstar? Even the signing of 34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic on hefty wages came with some criticism, and the Swedish striker was free.

Paris Saint-Germain is another club that often throws caution to the wind when it comes to the financials, but even if they were to toss logic out the window and sign the papers, would Cristiano Ronaldo consider moving to the French top flight? While Ligue 1 is certainly increasing in talent every year, Ronaldo is keenly aware to hone every minute detail of his reputation, and even the stigma of a drop in competition is unlikely to whet his pallet.

Finally, Manchester City is one that might be able to financially afford the absurdity required for this move, but one big thing stands in his way: competition. With so much attacking talent already on the cards, there’s no way Manchester City would empty the coffers for yet another striker while leaving actual needs like defense untouched.

For every transfer there must be not just a seller but a buyer. Is there a buyer for Cristiano Ronaldo? It doesn’t seem likely at all.

Digging into the ramifications of a Ronaldo move

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If — and it’s a massive, world-bending if — Cristiano Ronaldo really were to leave Real Madrid, fueled by anger at more tax evasion talk, what would follow?

The ramifications are almost too much to comprehend. Players of his caliber don’t often swap clubs while still in their primes. Granted Ronaldo is nearing the end of his unless he has Jaromir Jagr DNA, but there’s little questioning that he’s still performing at an outstanding level and is one of the greatest players of all time.

The money — Cristiano Ronaldo has a buyout clause of reportedly $1.1 billion. It’s difficult to imagine that any team would meet that nor that Madrid would enforce it if their top player demanded to leave the country, but it’s possible.

Yet even if Ronaldo brought in half that fee, Real would unsettle any number of clubs in the world by offering incredible wages to land their best players. The transfer record that fell courtesy of Ronaldo’s sale may even be tempted as Real chased players like Eden Hazard, Robert Lewandowski, Alexis Sanchez, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, et cetera.

The trickle down of that, should those players leave for Madrid, could shake some of the top clubs to their core (at least in the short term).

The destination — The landing spots for Ronaldo are limited thanks to his wages and renown. Where could he go?

  1. Manchester United — An Old Trafford return has been rumored for years. Any club would gain a lot of dough from the sale of Ronaldo gear, but United would instantly have the top selling everything in the world. It’s difficult to imagine Ronaldo joining any other Premier League club.
  2. Paris Saint-Germain — Les Parisiens would make plenty of sense given their first year without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had massive success in Ligue 1 at the same age and freak of nature style as Ronaldo. Their accomplishments have yet to meet their ambition. Ronaldo would help.
  3. Bayern Munich — The Bavarians could offer several significant assets to help offset any move, and Ronaldo has spoken of his desire to work with Carlo Ancelotti again at some point in his career.
  4. Chinese Super League — China’s aim to build a global power in soccer knows no bounds, and it would not be shocking to see a world record offer which could stand for a decade should Ronaldo have interest in leaving Europe. The idea of his agents wanting him outside Europe is a little unrealistic, but money does talk.

And who are they getting?