Paris Saint Germain were more than keen to secure the signature of the Portuguese ace Cristiano Ronaldo who is enjoying a record breaking end to the year.
Leonardo, the former sporting director of Paris Saint Germain has revealed in an exclusive interview with French program Telefoot that the club tried everything within their limits to lure Cristiano Ronaldo away from the Santiago Bernebeau only to be left empty handed in his efforts. The winger enjoyed a scintillating first half of the season, scoring 25 times in just 18 appearences and eclipsing Frank Ribery and Lionel Messi to emerge as the favourite for the Ballon D’Or.
Ronaldo signed a five year contract extension with Real in September but according to reports all had previously not been well between club and player as reports of a potential unrest began to surface across media outlets with the Portugese also being booed at a home fixture last year. There were rumours of both Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain being interested in the player and Leonardo affirmed the truth behind the murmurs.
The Brazilian was quoted as saying –
“We also thought of signing Ronaldo. I did everything within the written laws to try to get him to Paris but it was impossible to make him leave Real Madrid.”
The former sporting director also spoke about the club’s interest in French sensation Paul Pogba who has broken into the Juventus first team since his controversial switch from Manchester United and also sealed a place in the Les Bleus starting lineup.
“”Pogba is at the level to play for PSG, of course. We thought of him and thought he would be a great investment because he is one of the best midfielders in the world.”
Further, the Brazilian raved about the squad available at the disposal of current coach Laurent Blanc –
“There is no other team that has the squad of the Paris Saint-Germain. No other team has such offensive force. The squad has Salvatore Sirigu, Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta, Zlatan Ibrahmovic and then came Edinson Cavani. We wanted this strong central spine. The team is ready for now and for the future.”
The influx of investment from the Middle East has seen PSG emerge as a major European force over the past two seasons and the club will only improve with time believes Leonardo.
Finally, the Brazilian also cast his opinion on the three way race for the Ballon D’Or and gave his vote of confidence to Bayern Munich star Frank Ribery –
“Ronaldo, Messi and Ribery are the type of players who make you dream. I prefer Ribery for the Ballon d’Or, as it would be his first title. Ronaldo and Messi also merit it – but they have already won.”