MOSCOW — In the wake of agreeing to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus for €120 million ($141 million), Real Madrid is targeting Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Eden Hazard to make the big-name signing that the club knows it has to give its fans, a source with direct knowledge of Real Madrid’s thinking tells SI.com.
Real Madrid needs a Galactico-worthy goal-scorer to replace Ronaldo, which means Neymar or Mbappé, who both play for PSG, would fit the bill. In recent weeks, the source tells SI.com, Real Madrid executives have spoken with Neymar’s father, Neymar Santos Sr., about the possibility of a move.
PSG chief executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi has no desire to sell Neymar or Mbappé, but Real Madrid is hopeful that if one of the players decides he wants to make the move—as Ronaldo did on his move to Juventus—the deal will get done. The club has publicly denied reports that it made lucrative bids for each player in the last eight days.
As for the Ronaldo deal, it has been coming together in recent weeks. At one point, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez was demanding a €1 billion ($1.17 billion) transfer fee, but he eventually came down to €120 million. In terms of his new Juventus personal terms, Ronaldo has signed a four-year deal that will pay him €30 million ($35.2 million) net per year (€60 million gross, or $70.4 million).
Organizers of the International Champions Cup, the annual U.S. preseason tournament, are expecting that Ronaldo will be involved in the ICC games for Juventus, which also is the opponent in the MLS All-Star Game on August 1 in Atlanta. One of the ICC games is between Juventus and Real Madrid in Washington, D.C., on August 4.
However, a source close to Ronaldo cautioned that no decision has yet been made on whether he will play for Juventus in the United States. A formal announcement is expected later this week.
Grant Wahl has covered soccer for 22 years at Sports Illustrated. His new book, Masters of Modern Soccer, details the craft of soccer position by position. You can order it here.