Transfer talk

Leonardo: PSG could attract Ronaldo

January 9, 2013

Leonardo has insisted there is "zero contact" with Cristiano Ronaldo, but acknowledged Paris Saint-Germain's heavyweight financial clout means they could now attract the Portuguese superstar.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Real's third goal against Sociedad
GettyImagesCristiano Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United for £80 million

With some €250 million spent on the squad since Qatar Sports Investments took over in the French capital in the summer of 2011, PSG have become major players in the global transfer market. Though he conceded Lionel Messi was out of reach – "he'll never leave Barcelona" – and denied moves were afoot to entice Ronaldo, 27, Leonardo did concede his club are now in a position to compete for the ex-Manchester United man's sought-after services should they be for hire.

"PSG has become a club where anything is possible. But he has a long contract with Real Madrid and you don't just leave a club like Real Madrid like that. There's absolutely nothing concrete. There is zero contact," PSG's sporting director, 43, told L'Equipe. "But today, when you talk about a big player like that leaving, there are four or five clubs he can go to, and PSG are now part of that group."

Last summer's arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, along with the addition of Brazilian wunderkind Lucas Moura this month, have reinforced the view that the Parc des Princes is now a viable destination of choice for world football's elite.

"We have players people respect. There's Zlatan, of course, but also Thiago Silva. I saw the FIFA XI of the year, and he wasn't in it. Frankly, I don't know who voted for it. Eleven players and Thiago's not in it? That's just not possible," an incredulous Leonardo explained. "The unveiling of Lucas was broadcast live in Brazil. [Ezequiel] Lavezzi, we have ten clubs following him. PSG are becoming a very interesting club."

The spotlight would be intensified still further were Jose Mourinho to take the helm, as has been suggested in recent months. Speculation is growing the Portuguese coach will leave Real Madrid next summer, though Leonardo is not so sure.

"I don't see Mourinho leaving Madrid," the ex-Inter Milan coach said, before hailing Carlo Ancelotti's work at PSG in the last year. "He came in at a very difficult time after the departure of [Antoine] Kombouaré [last December]. He showed a lot of courage in accepting this challenge. He's done it very well."