Cristiano Ronaldo’s national team coach has played down the chances of the forward leaving Real Madrid.

It is understood that  Ronaldo has told the club of his desire to move on, but Fernando Santos is questioning where the stories have come from.

“You have to be careful when you try to find out what the sources are of this information. I’ve never before heard some of the news which is being spread all over the place. Either I’m deaf – which I’m not as everyone knows I’m a great listener – or we have to be careful where these rumours start. We have to be careful about whether it’s true or not.”

Santos was speaking in his prematch news conference in Kazan Arena ahead of the European champion’s opening Confederations Cup game against Mexico on Sunday.

“This is the final word on Cristiano,” Santos said, about halfway through his appearance in front of the media. “I’m sure everyone wants to ask the same question, but we are representing Portugal and are playing tomorrow against Mexico.”

By that point Santos had already launched a staunch defence of Ronaldo’s character, in the wake of the 32-year-old’s problems with accusations of tax evasion by the Spanish authorities.

“You know that I’ve known Ronaldo for many years, I was his last coach in Portugal, when he was only 18,” Santos said.

“I’d put my hands in the fire — and it’s something I rarely do — for the character and integrity of Mr. Cristiano as a man and an athlete.”

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