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Reports: Ronaldo asked to be benched vs. Udinese because he wants to leave Juventus

Well there’s a curveball on the first day of the season.

Juventus v Atalanta Bergamo - Pre-Season Friendly Match Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

There is usually a method to Max Allegri’s madness. And that looks to be the case in the minutes after Juventus’ starting lineup for its season opener against Udinese was announced Sunday evening.

Less than 24 hours after Allegri said that Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Juventus for the 2021-22 season, the Portuguese superstar has been left out of the starting lineup in Udine. According to reports out Italy — including from Sky Italia’s Fabrizio Romano — there is very good reason for that. It’s because of the fact that Ronaldo, who is in the last year of his four-year contract with Juventus, still has a desire to leave the club and asked to be left out of the starting lineup as he and his agent Jorge Mendes still look for a solution on the transfer market.

Romano described it as a “precise request” to be left out of the starting lineup against Udinese, but added that Juventus still have not received any offers for Ronaldo.

Juventus vice president Pavel Nedved reiterated the club’s stance for months now that Ronaldo will stay this summer, saying on DAZN before kickoff: “We’ve decided together with Ronaldo. It’s normal. Ronaldo will 100% stay.”

These reports and the starting lineup decision come in the same week where Ronaldo posted a lengthy message on Instagram about the speculation surrounding his future. There was, however, no mention of Juventus by name in said post by Ronaldo, which seemed to be more or less address rumors of a potential return to Real Madrid.

Now, however, things are about to get a little more interesting.

The sticking point in all of this is that Ronaldo’s salary is so big that only a few clubs can afford him to begin with as well as the fact that Juve would like around €30 million for him due to amortization on his contract. We’ve known this for a while now, but it’s especially true when you’re in the last couple of weeks of the summer transfer window. According to Nicolo Schira, Mendes has been talking with the Manchester City, Manchester United and even Real Madrid (despite Ronaldo’s frayed relationship with Florentino Perez) in recent weeks as they look to find some sort of solution.

If Ronaldo really is trying to still find a way out, then time is definitely not on his side. September is fast approaching, and with limited options a sudden solution is going to be extremely tough to find. But if there’s one thing Mendes has proven, he gets what his clients want much more often than not, and if Ronaldo wants out then something may well be going down before we flip over to September.