Is Cristiano Ronaldo saying goodbye to Real Madrid?
Cristiano Ronaldo could leave Real Madrid after revealing he is 'sad' at the Bernabeu
Cristiano Ronaldo has always been adept at drawing attention to himself, whether it is due to his frightening football ability, the women with whom he chooses to spend his time or the insistence of parading his hulking physique in the skimpiest of garments.
But the 27-year-old's showmanship reached new heights on Sunday evening when his reluctance to celebrate either of his goals in Real Madrid's 3-0 defeat of Granada saw Ronaldo steal the spotlight once again.
Ronaldo possessed the demeanour of a man far from happy with his lot, and so it transpired, with the Portuguese revealing post-match that he his becoming disenchanted with life at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"I am sad and the club knows it, that's why I didn't celebrate the goals," Ronaldo explained. "The people in the club know why."
Ronaldo's on-field behaviour served as a clear message to the club that they ought to give their brightest star the attention he so desperately craves or, perhaps, he would be prepared to walk.
Unsurprisingly, speculation regarding Ronaldo's future in Madrid has reached fever pitch and there are suggestions the former Manchester United forward is keen to leave for pastures new.
Or perhaps even pastures old, should Sir Alex Ferguson have the financial backing to offer Ronaldo a route out of Madrid and back to Old Trafford.
Ronaldo has felt unappreciated at Real Madrid for some time, although perhaps not to the extent of seriously considering his future, but it would now appear he is ready to leave after meeting with Los Blancos president Florentino Perez.
It would be sensational turn of events given Ronaldo's prominent role last season as Real finally ousted Barcelona to ascend to the position of Spain's league champions for the first time since 2008.
However, wanting to leave Real Madrid and being allowed to depart are two different matters entirely, and the club are in a position where they do not have to entertain the idea of their most highly-coveted asset.
That is, unless, a rival club is bold enough to meet Ronaldo's buyout clause of €1billion, which would serve as enough evidence to declare that football had officially gone mad.
With this possibility off the table, it would then take an extraordinary package to convince Real to sell Ronaldo, and surely only a handful of clubs would be able to persuade Perez to return their calls.
As much as a return to Manchester United may appeal to Ronaldo above all other proposed moves, the Red Devils can no longer realistically compete in the transfer market with clubs backed by oil or royalty. Or both.
Mega-rich Anzhi Makhachkala should not be overlooked in the pursuit of Ronaldo, although the Portugal international would surely reject the opportunity to join the Russian club - regardless of the financial incentives.
Regardless of any interest in Ronaldo at this present time, he would not feasibly be sold until 2013 when the transfer window opens once again, and there will no doubt be numerous twists and turns as the story ekes out until January 1.
Ronaldo's record-breaking move to Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 was the most sensational in transfer market history, yet it will be usurped if he does indeed end his stay in Spain at the next available opportunity.