Chinese whispers: Ronaldo fires up old rumours after Scolari chat; LVG says he turned down €25m offer from a CSL club while Sven will never say never

Is there any substance to the latest round of Ronaldo rumours?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 10:21am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 11:55am

Ronaldo. That’s been the biggest story of the week as far as Chinese football is concerned with the question on everyone’s lips: is the Ballon d’Or winner going to move to the Chinese Super League?

Ronaldo has been linked to China before with his agent Jorge Mendes quoted as saying a CSL club offered Real Madrid £250 million (US$354.2 million, HK$2.8 billion) for him back in 2016, but on Tuesday the transfer talk got a new lease of life after former Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luis Felipe Scolari spoke to Portuguese radio at the country’s football awards as reported first on Goal.

Big Phil ­– who added three CSL titles, an AFC Champions League and plenty of zeroes to his bank balance in South China ­– said that Ronaldo always asked him about China, adding that it would make sense for the Portuguese captain to consider it because of his wider business interests.

Ronaldo is contracted to Real Madrid until 2021 but if the persistent rumours that they want to sign Neymar are true then Ronaldo’s star status and wages will be a problem. Offloading their current number seven would free up some funds.

Ronaldo could perhaps do with the cash himself as AS reports that the Spanish taxman wants a lot more than he has offered.

To take some of the wind out of the story, Spanish transfer tattler Don Balon ran a piece where it claimed that the 33-year-old rang teammate James Rodriguez, who is on loan at Bayern Munich, to tell him that an unnamed Chinese club had put an offer on the table.

Elsewhere from the Bernabeu, the UK’s Daily Star reported a £113 million-bid from a “Chinese Super League club” was accepted by Real Madrid for Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale, but the former Spurs man is refusing to make the move. The tabloid’s source is Spain’s Diario Gol, who they also say “often make outlandish claims”.

While Andres Iniesta has not updated the status of his potential move to China the story is continuing to run.

“Barcelona fans make their feelings about Andres Iniesta clear following Chinese Super League links” screamed the Daily Mirror midweek. The “feelings”, hidden well down the article after plenty of build-up that they might be negative were the fans greeting their substitute with pleas that he stay at the Catalan club.

One man who won’t be coming to China is Louis Van Gaal. The Dutchman, 66, told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he turned down a 25 million offer from an unnamed Chinese club recently. “I have already rejected offers from World Cup participants, most recently also a 25 million offer from China.”

Chinese whispers: Benteke balderdash, Iniesta transfer twists and an on-trend eye roll

Sven Goran Eriksson has not ruled out a return to China in an interview with Twitter’s @cfinenglish. The Swede, who spent four years in China, also predicted that China would be a world super power in 15 years and that his time in Shenzhen might have been a “mistake” in a frank exchange.

In other life-changing transfer news, ESPN India report that Bengalaru FC, fresh from selling Spanish midfielder Edu Garcia to China League One side Zhejiang Lucheng, may be selling Venezuelan striker Miku to a Chinese club. The striker has certainly had his head turned on two separate occasions: “The clubs they pay me six or seven times more than here.” The ball is in the Indian club’s court, he added, but he has to think of his family and his future.

Squawka revealed this week that Oscar says you can’t eat World Cup memories. They got this insight from a Copa 90 interview last October. You can watch that here:

Self-professed “keen watch enthusiast” Oscar has signed up to be an ambassador for luxury watch brand Ritmo Mundo reports SportsPro. The Californian horologists will produce a co-designed timepiece featuring the number 8 worn by the Brazilian. “It’s an honour to join forces with the top player in the Chinese football league to enter the global market with his notoriety and talent,” read the press release. “Global recognition for Oscar’s pre-eminent abilities on the pitch and family values off the pitch are second to none.”

Too old, too lazy and more interested in e-sports – is the Chinese football consumer to blame for the game’s failures?

“Wolves hero Robertson hails Santo and predicts bright future under Chinese owners” wrote Tribal Football. It turns out the former Wolves defender, who was part of the West Brom team that toured China in 1978, actually said the following about the new owners: “I think by all accounts, they’ve got people with a bit of money behind them and they’ll be willing to spend it as well to get them up there and keep them up there.” Not exactly a bright future.

Nigeria’s New Telegraph gives with one hand and swiftly takes away with the other. They refer to China as a “great football playing country” which is kind but a shame that the full headline is “Great football playing countries plagued by match fixing”. Maybe they meant “great, football playing”? Interestingly, despite match fixing “still” plaguing the game the only example for China they cite is 2003. And it is a similar story for the other 14 nations on the list with Nigeria and Spain providing the most recent examples, both dating back to last year.

And over on Xinhua there are some other inexplicable numbers in the story of the rioja wine brand that has been invested in by China’s wine giant Changyu.

Marques del Atrio wine is the official vino of Spain’s La Liga and that is where the brand will capture the 150 million people that the article says have the chance to watch La Liga every week in China.