Barcelona Vice-President Josep Vives has ramped up his club’s rivalry with Real Madid ahead of the new season with a thinly-veiled barb at Cristiano Ronaldo’s Bernabeu exit.
Ronaldo enjoyed a glittering nine-year stay in Madrid, scoring 450 goals from 438 appearances in all competitions while winning two La Liga titles.
It was in the Champions League that the Portugal captain gained the most silverware, helping Los Blancos claim Europe’s elite club competition on four occasions, including the past three renewals of the event.
He is widely recognised as one of the best players of all time and will doubtless go down as a Real legend, but he opted to end his stay in the capital this summer and move to Juventus on a four-year deal.
Despite the fact he will turn 34 next February, Ronaldo seems as fit as ever, with Juve paying in excess of 100m euros for his services and Vives suggested that the Catalans would not have let their superstar leave under any circumstances.
“I can’t imagine a situation in which Messi doesn’t stay with us,” he told reporters in North America.
“I’m already feeling nervous as there haven’t been so many days without football. I can’t imagine the situation happening here.”
Barca ran away with the La Liga title last term and are 1.75 favourites to lift the trophy once again, with Real on offer at 2.38 and Atletico Madrid next in the market at 13.00.
Real are the undoubted kings of Europe, however, and can be backed at 7.50 to win a fourth straight Champions League crown.