If moneybags Manchester City really want to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, they will have to fork out an awful lot more than the £150m quoted yesterday.
It emerged last night that the Real Madrid superstar has a buyout clause in his contract worth a jaw-dropping £874m.
And, should the Spanish giants refuse to waive that clause, City would have to make Ronaldo the world’s first £1bn footballer.
He’s already the most expensive player on the planet, with Real having paid Manchester United a world record £80m for him two years ago.
That massive fee was bulked up by the hefty buyout clause United had insisted on when the Portuguese signed his last contract at Old Trafford — and Madrid demanded a considerably bigger one when he signed for them.
Abu Dhabi-backed City, now the world’s richest football club, are of course the only ones who could afford Ronaldo, but even they will baulk at the amount the deal would cost — even if Real waived the staggering buyout clause.
The 26-year-old’s wages alone would have to be at least £300,000 a week — which, after UK tax is paid, would match what he’s currently earning at the Bernabeu.
City claim they are not interested in Ronaldo, but they said the same thing about Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney, landing the former and nearly poaching the latter.
And they do need a ‘marquee signing’ to replace club captain Tevez who, despite manager Roberto Mancini’s insistence that he would stay, now looks likely to leave Eastlands for Italian club Inter Milan.
After Tuesday's 3-0 Premier League win over Stoke City, in which Tevez scored two goals, Mancini said that the Argentinian striker had told him he wanted to stay.
But within 24 hours, Tevez's representatives were claiming in private that the striker had said nothing of the sort.
Tevez was subsequently reported to have told an Argentinian radio station that he wanted to leave and even senior figures at City now wonder if Tevez's trusted adviser, Kia Joorabchian, is trying to find a club willing to pay the vast transfer fee and wages the striker would command.
However, as he looked ahead to tomorrow’s match at Bolton — in which City can secure third place in the Premier League and automatic Champions League qualification, to go with last week's FA Cup final victory against Stoke — Mancini said Tevez was not about to make his final appearance for the club.
“I don't think it will be Carlos' last game,” he said.
“On Tuesday, I told you all my opinion and I am sure about this, but I can't continue to have a press conference to answer this question.
“I have spoken with Carlos. I have spoken with him many times in the last weeks and I don't need to speak with him again.”
Mancini is not entirely convinced about the quotes emerging from Argentina, attributed to Tevez, that indicate that the player wants to go.
“Sometimes I have spoken to journalists in Italy and when the comments come back here, it is something completely different. I understand it can happen because of the translation,” he said.
Mancini laughed at suggestions that he might be interested in signing Ronaldo. “We have signed Cristiano Ronaldo for £200m,” joked the Italian.
“I said after the FA Cup final that I would like to sign Ronaldo, Messi, Fabregas and Iniesta, but I don't think it is possible.”