Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta has refused to comment on burgeoning reports that the Serie A club have agreed personal terms on a contact with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Reports in the Italian and Spanish media have claimed Ronaldo, 33, is close to joining Juventus in a €100 million transfer, with a source close to the player telling ESPN that the club has made an offer to Real Madrid.
But asked by Sky Sports Italia whether Juventus fans “could dream of Ronaldo,” Marotta declined to confirm or deny the reports, saying: “I will not speak [about the speculation].”
Marotta’s silence hasn’t stopped the growing claims over a deal, however, with Sport Mediaset reporting on Thursday that Juve were already planning on presenting Ronaldo as their new signing.
The Italian outlet said Juventus discussed the idea at a meeting earlier in the day between Marotta, club president Andrea Agnelli, sporting director Fabio Paratici and coach Massimiliano Allegri, who had reportedly cut short his holidays to return to Turin to attend.
Marotta and Paratici, it was claimed, were then to take a private jet to the Spanish capital to meet with Madrid chiefs and finalise the transfer at a fee of €100m. Juventus club sponsor Fiat may also step in and agree to pay some of Ronaldo’s new €30m salary, Mediaset said, with the player acting as a brand ambassador for the car company.
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According to TV show “El Chiringuito de Jugones,” which earlier this week first reported word of a potential deal, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes was in Madrid on Wednesday for a meeting with president Florentino Perez and director general Jose Angel Sanchez.
Former Juventus director Luciano Moggi, who earlier this week called the Ronaldo rumours a joke, changed his tune and wrote on Twitter that “Ronaldo has already signed for Juve and undergone medicals in Munich.”
“This is my belief after talking with some important people,” Moggi clarified on Tele7Gold.
Meanwhile, La Stampa reported that a Turin estate agent had received a call from an English “emissary” acting on behalf of Ronaldo, with an appointment fixed for Friday to view a luxury villa near the city which could potentially be the Madeira-born player’s new base if he joins Juventus.
In Spain, Marca’s Thursday front page featured Ronaldo saying: “If I’m valued at €100m, then they do not love me” — a reference to his alleged annoyance that Madrid would accept that for him.
— MARCA (@marca) July 4, 2018
Adding to the clamour, the brother and agent of Gonzalo Higuain said the Juventus forward would welcome a reunion with his former Madrid teammate.
“Gonzalo was at Real with Cristiano for four years, but he’s not told him anything yet,” Nicolas Higuain told Sky Sport Italia. “It would be fantastic if he were to join Juventus and partner Higuain. They can read each other like a book, and it would be truly a huge signing for Juventus. Everybody wants him. It would be spectacular.”
Juventus may need to offload players to pay Ronaldo’s transfer fee and wages, but Nicolas Higuain played down talk that his brother could rejoin his former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri if he takes over at Chelsea.
“Gonzalo considers Sarri to be his sporting father and they have a fantastic relationship,” Nicolas Higuain said. “Sarri is not yet the coach of Chelsea, though, and Gonzalo has three years on his contract and is happy at Juve. Furthermore, he gets on well with Allegri. Links to other clubs are purely speculation. We’ve not spoken to anybody.”
Madrid’s willingness to let Ronaldo leave could be linked to whether they can do a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for either Neymar or Kylian Mbappe.
Twice in the last week, Madrid have moved to issue official statements denying reports that they were close to signing either PSG player, with radio show “El Transistor” reporting the statements are intended to keep relations positive to ensure a deal can be done later in the summer.
However, Real Madrid have issued no such statement about Ronaldo.
Information from ESPN FC’s Italy correspondent Selene Scarsi was used in this report.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan