PSG-Ronaldo link gets traction

Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo with his four Golden Boot trophies during a ceremony in Madrid last week, after winning the European Golden Shoe trophy for a record fourth time. French newspaper Le Parisien said this week that the possibility o
Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo with his four Golden Boot trophies during a ceremony in Madrid last week, after winning the European Golden Shoe trophy for a record fourth time. French newspaper Le Parisien said this week that the possibility of a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain is "not a dream".PHOTO: REUTERS

Striker remains silent but former Real boss says star's departure for Paris is 'possible'

PARIS • As Angel di Maria prepares to face his former club in the Champions League today, most of the talk was about another Real Madrid star potentially moving to Paris Saint-Germain.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a move to the French capital in recent seasons, and former Real president Ramon Calderon has fuelled speculation further by saying Real's record scorer could leave for PSG in the summer.

"I heard the rumours about a strong interest from PSG," Calderon told French newspaper Le Parisien.

"As a former president and supporter of Real Madrid, I hope it will never happen. But as a connoisseur of the world of football, I think that a departure is possible.

"For the moment, Cristiano has not spoken about it. I think he'll make his decision at the end of the season in accordance with the titles won and the feelings he has."

Le Parisien yesterday dedicated two pages of its coverage to the possible transfer, claiming that it is "not a dream".

PSG already have one former Galactico in di Maria. Real offloaded him to Manchester United, in part to fund president Florentino Perez's policy of cherry-picking World Cup stars, with Germany's Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez of Colombia arriving shortly before di Maria's move to England.

Following a failed season at United, di Maria moved to PSG and has made a solid, if unspectacular, start to his Ligue One career.

He was a key figure for Real during his four years in Madrid and was named Man of the Match when they beat city rivals Atletico 4-1 to clinch the Decima, a record-extending 10th European Cup crown, in his final season.

"If I score against Madrid, I will not celebrate because at the bottom of my heart, I have not forgotten what I experienced there with the Decima," he told French TV.

PSG have scored in each of their previous four meetings against Real and in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be keen to find the target.

The striker has netted six goals in his last four Ligue One outings and PSG geared up for today with a clinical 2-0 win at Bastia on Saturday, thanks to an Ibrahimovic double.

PSG manager Laurent Blanc rested his regular midfielders, with Thiago Motta coming off the bench and di Maria, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi not in the squad.

His opposite number, Rafael Benitez, is hoping some of the players who missed Real's 3-0 La Liga win at home to Levante on Saturday through injury, including captain Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, will be back for the clash at the Parc des Princes.

But forward Gareth Bale looks certain to miss the game after tests on Monday showed he has a calf injury. His latest setback has led to heated criticism in the Spanish media over the belief that he is putting Wales ahead of his club side.

Bale has suffered a succession of injuries since joining Real in 2013 and the calf strain that saw him go off at half-time against Levante was the fifth time he has had a problem in the same area.

The fact that his latest injury is directly related to the calf problem he had before the international break, when he played two full games for Wales, has not gone down well in the Spanish capital.

He was being used sparingly, playing as a substitute against Atletico Madrid, before joining Wales where he gave his all, including in the second match against Andorra after they had already qualified for Euro 2016.

"It is irritating for any Real Madrid supporter," said AS journalist Tomas Roncero. "It's one thing to be unfortunate and we all back you then but you (Bale) made a joke of Real Madrid, I'll say it clearly. 'You have prioritised your country over the club that pays you'."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'PSG-RONALDO LINK GETS TRACTION'. Print Edition | Subscribe