Gareth Bale is front and centre of Real Madrid’s launch of their 2018-19 kit despite suggesting he would leave the club this summer, but fellow Bernabeu malcontent Cristiano Ronaldo is nowhere to be seen in the images promoting their strip for next season.
Marcelo, Bale, Karim Benzema, Nacho Fernandez and Toni Kroos also featured heavily as the European champions released their home and away jerseys for next season. But the club’s all-time record goal scorer Ronaldo was a notable absentee, just days after the Portugal captain spoke in the past tense about his time as a Madrid player.
Immediately after the final whistle on Saturday night, Ronaldo stole the spotlight from match-winner Bale by suggesting he was leaving the Bernabeu, promising a big announcement due in the coming days. However, reporters close to his camp have since played down the importance of those comments, and further talks over a new improved contract for the 33-year-old are expected.
Elsewhere on the pitch at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, Bale was also telling reporters that he would need to consider his future, having again been left on the bench for a big game, immediately leading to a ramping up of rumours that this could be the summer he finally leaves to join long-time suitors Manchester United. Bale’s camp have since then been keeping quiet, perhaps ahead of a meeting which the player himself said would happen soon with his agent Jonathan Barnett.
The Wales international clearly feels he is not valued sufficiently by coach Zinedine Zidane. However the new gear launch has clearly demonstrated that the marketing department at the Bernabeu continue to rate him highly. And it is possibly not a coincidence that he has a personal endorsement deal with Adidas, Madrid’s kit supplier.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s close relationship with a different sportswear brand, Nike, may be a factor in why he was overlooked by the cameras on this one occasion.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan