The 33-year-old is believed to be pushing for an exit after being made to feel undervalued by Real, with Juventus the leading candidates to prise him away in an £88million deal. And now they have fanned the rumours even further by leaving Ronaldo off the promotion material for their new kit.
Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Marco Asensio and Toni Kroos all take centre stage in the ad campaign, while the designated website virtually crops Ronaldo out of the club’s history. Imagery from their 2014 Champions League win shows only Gareth Bale and Ramos, both instrumental in winning La Decima, while Ronaldo is also out of frame in the three subsequent group shots.
There have been suggestions that Ronaldo’s ties to Nike will have prevented him from participating in the shoot, but skipper Ramos is also sponsored by Nike. Furthermore, Ronaldo’s association with a rival brand has never stopped him from being included in previous kit launches and promotions, and this marks the first time he has been absent. The plot gets even thicker on Real’s official shop website, where every player has been pictured in the new kit except for one: Ronaldo. Instead, there is simply a template of a shirt with Ronaldo’s name and number on the back.
Fans have also grown fearful that Ronaldo will depart due to Real’s silence on the matter, with the club having moved quickly to release statements regarding rumoured pursuits of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Reports in Spain suggest Real are willing to accept Juve’s £88m offer for Ronaldo, with both parties keen to part ways despite nine enormously successful seasons together.