Does Cristiano Ronaldo Really Want to Quit Real Madrid This Time?

Is this the face of man that wants to leave Madrid for pastures new over the summer?Martin Meissner/Associated Press

You don’t have to believe a magician is sawing his assistant in half to enjoy the spectacle. When the poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the term “suspension of disbelief” in 1817, it is unlikely he envisaged 200 years on we would still be guided by its principles.

Yet here we are, again, for a third time, scouring the social media accounts of the world’s most famous athlete for clues as to whether Cristiano Ronaldo really could this time quit Real Madrid.

In all likelihood, he’s almost certainly laughing at us trying to solve a crime that has never been committed, yet at the same time it’s impossible not to become complicit in a world where we are all but disciples to the cult of Cristiano.

History suggests this latest agenda-shifting power play will culminate in Ronaldo relieving Madrid’s coffers of just enough to repay what he allegedly owes the taxman. In 2012, when he refused to celebrate his 150th goal for Los Merengues, citing “a professional issue,” it was one ultimately resolved with a bumper new contract.

If David Blaine could conjure a similar outcome from every trick he pulled, he’d be able to afford to spend less time in that perspex box.

Timing, with Ronaldo, is everything. He chose the occasion of his 100th UEFA Champions League goal in April to scold the Santiago Bernabeu faithful for whistling at his inactivity when not in possession. In fairness he had just scored a hat-trick against Bayern Munich. He may be impetuous, but he’s smart with it.

And now, on the back 12 months in which he has won the European Championship, the Champions League twice (including two goals a fortnight ago in the 4-1 defeat of Juventus in the final), La Liga and the Club World Cup, while being nailed on to become the Ballon d’Or recipient for a fifth time, he says he wants out.

According to The Telegraph’s Jason Burt, Ronaldo’s advisers are…

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