Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes the time is right for Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.
A run of three goals in his past seven Madrid matches heading into Saturday’s home Clasico against Barca in La Liga represents a meagre return by the 30-year-old’s imperious standards.
Links with a move to Paris Saint-Germain and the promotion of a biopic documenting Ronaldo’s career have come amid reports of a strained relationship with Madrid president Florentino Perez over recent weeks.
Laporta, who is reported to boast a close friendship with Ronaldo’s influential agent Jorge Mendes, said the forward has reached a stage where he must consider his options.
“I’m not surprised about all this with Cristiano,” he told AS. “He’s a player in the time in his career when he has to start asking himself these questions.
“The market is up, it’s a good moment to make a move with all the money in the Premier League, that might encourage a few clubs.
“He’s been at Real Madrid for years and perhaps he’ll find another path.
“Players look for better contracts, the market is there for a move and Cristiano is at the right age for it.”
Laporta added that Barca’s in-form attacker Neymar is operating on the same world-class level as Ronaldo, while he backed his club to return from the Bernabeu with a six-point lead over their rivals at La Liga’s summit.
“I think Barca will win, we have the better team,” he said. “We always play well there, it’ll be a great game and we’ll win.
“Barca come into the game in better shape, our forwards are in a state of grace and if Leo [Lionel Messi] comes back [from injury] on top of that then we’re looking good.”