Carlo Ancelotti has hinted his Real Madrid players wouldn’t even consider the chance to join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia.
The Real Madrid boss was speaking after Al-Nassr were linked with audacious approaches for two of Ronaldo’s ex-teammates, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric. The Saudi giants are still basking in the limelight afforded to them by Ronaldo’s stunning move at the end of last year.
Ronaldo signed a lucrative contract in the Middle East after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan effectively rubber stamped his Manchester United exit. The 37-year-old claimed he had made the move to Saudi with football as the chief motivator, having achieved all he could in Europe.
That came weeks after the Portuguese icon claimed he wasn’t tempted by the potential riches on offer and would instead retire on top. "It comes back to my gut feeling about you, that if it was just about money you'd be in Saudi Arabia earning a king's ransom. But that's not what motivates you. You want to keep at the top.,” Morgan said to Ronaldo.
The forward then responded: "Exactly. Because I still believe that I can score many, many goals and help the team."
Modric, 37, and Benzema, 35, are the latest European superstars to be linked with a move to Al-Nassr, but Ancelotti has made it clear he feels that Real Madrid legends should retire at the Bernabeu. And the Italian went as far to suggest he didn't even think they would broach the subject with him.
"I don't think Benzema or Modric are going to come to my office, because I don't think they need my advice.,” Ancelotti said. “The legends of Madrid have to stay in Madrid, and retire here. That's what I think and we're talking about two legends."
Ronaldo is certainly in the bracket when it comes to Los Blancos greats, having won every major honour - including five Champions Leagues - and scoring a record 450 goals in 438 games for the club.
After signing a contract that takes him beyond his 40th birthday, it looked a near certainty that - rather than in Madrid - Ronaldo would end his career in Riyadh. But following his first two matches for Al-Nassr, his new manager Rudi Garcia has hinted that probably won’t be the case.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is a positive addition, as he helps to disperse defenders," Garcia said. "He is one of the best players in the world. He will not finish his career at Al Nassr though, he will return to Europe."
Ronaldo is set to make his third Al-Nassr appearance later this week, having failed to find the net in his opening pair. He was also singled out by Garcia following their Saudi Super Cup defeat to Al-Ittihad, with his missed chance cited as a key factor behind the loss.
Garcia added: "Cristiano Ronaldo missed a chance that would have changed the course of the game in the first half, but I congratulate Al Ittihad. They were much better than us until half-time. Then we reacted but we couldn't turn it around. We lost the Super Cup but we are still top of the league."