Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says he believes Cristiano Ronaldo will be happy now that his appearance in court to answer charges of tax fraud is behind him, and the superstar can get back to playing football for his club.
Ronaldo gave evidence for 90 minutes in front of judge Monica Gomez Ferrer in Madrid on Monday, later issuing a statement in which he strongly refuted the case brought by prosecutors at Spain’s tax agency who maintain that he has committed a €14.7 million tax fraud.
The Portugal captain, 32, let it be known earlier in the summer that he was so angry at the accusations that he was leaving Spain, and while he has not yet come out and publicly stated his commitment to the Bernabeu outfit, he reportedly was working at the club’s Valdebebas training facility on Tuesday.
Zidane was asked at a news conference ahead of Madrid’s clash with the MLS All-Stars in Chicago on Wednesday evening whether he was disappointed that Ronaldo had not given Blancos fans assurances to quiet all the speculation over his future.
“If he had spoken there would have been stories going around too,” Zidane responded. “But the important thing is what he said to me. He has been enjoying his holidays. Now that [July] 31 has passed, he is more relaxed. He will be with us on [Aug.] 5.
“I have not spoken directly with him [since the hearing]. I don’t think these things affect him. He is happy now as it is past. It was good news for him to be able to give evidence, and now return to football. He wants to play football, be with us, and not talk any more about this.”
Ronaldo, however, did raise concerns that he was still upset at something with a cryptic Instagram post on Tuesday afternoon.
The MLS All-Star game at Soldier Field is Madrid’s fourth contest in a summer preseason schedule which has so far brought a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in Santa Clara, California, a 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in Los Angeles, and last weekend’s 3-2 loss to Barcelona in Miami, all part of the International Champions Cup.
Zidane said it would be nice to return to Europe with a win, but the most important thing was his team had worked hard in preparation for their first competitive game in next Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup against Manchester United in Macedonia.
“I hope we can leave with a victory, but the most important for us is to finish up here well in the last game,” he said. “We have worked very well here, have not had many injuries, and that for us was the most important. We have not too much time left to prepare for the first official game, on [Aug.] 8.
“We want to end well with this game, and then go home. All the players will get some playing time. [The Under-21s] will start. Those who have played more so far, will get less time tomorrow.”
Gareth Bale had earlier limped out of Madrid’s training session at Soldier Field, but Zidane did not seem worried about the fitness of the often-injured Wales international, who in recent days has been linked with a move to Manchester United following some lacklustre preseason showings.
“I see Gareth feeling good, bit by bit,” he said. “He had a very long injury, four months [last season]. He has done a full preseason now, trained regularly, which is important for him. I am not concerned about his performance, it has been like all the team, good moments and some not so good.”