Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has ended one of the summer's biggest transfer rumours: He will not join Spanish side Real Madrid next season, opting instead to continue wearing the red jersey of Manchester United.
Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo said he will stay at Manchester United next season and is not about to join Real Madrid, Portuguese media reported on Wednesday.
"(United manager Alex) Ferguson heard my arguments and I heard his and between the two of us we decided that the best thing for both parties was that I should stay at Manchester United next season," Ronaldo was quoted as saying by Portugal's LUSA news agency.
LUSA said the quotes were from an interview with the player due to be published in Portuguese daily Publico on Thursday.
The comments were welcomed by United, who said "Ronaldo remains a Red" and "Cristiano Ronaldo is going nowhere" on their website (www.manutd.com), adding Ferguson's delighted reaction.
"We always knew this was the case," Ferguson told MUTV. "He's very happy here -- he's always been happy here.
"He's never had a complaint about Manchester United. He's always been treated properly and I have a great relationship with the boy, as do all the players.
"I think we can put this to bed now. It's finished. The boy's a United player and that's what's important."
Ronaldo, who is currently recovering from ankle surgery, added that he wanted to quash any speculation that he would be staying at United against his will.
"Before any rumours emerge that I'm unhappy to stay at United I want to make one thing clear and that is that anyone who says that is lying," he was quoted as saying.
BODY AND SOUL
"I will give my body and soul to Manchester United. I will be fighting to honour this shirt with the determination and dedication I have always shown."
The 23-year-old, who won a Premier League and Champions League double last season with United, blamed himself rather than Real Madrid for the speculation over his future.
"I want to make it clear that I was the one responsible for this controversy. The directors of Real Madrid are not to blame because it was me who publicly voiced my willingness to sign for Real. I also ended up involuntarily being the reason for the conflict between the two clubs."
Ronaldo, who last year signed a five-year contract with the champions, said he had been interested in the move.
"I knew Real Madrid were interested and had allegedly made a high offer to United," he said. "For a while my intention was that United should accept to transfer me to Real and to say anything else would be to deceive people and my own conscience."
Ferguson was sympathetic to Ronaldo's response to the interest from Real.
"The fans have got to understand it's very hard when a young boy's tempted by all this money," said the Scot.
"He's a young lad from Madeira and his father died a young man. Cristiano now looks after his mother, sister and his brother, so I can understand that (money may have been tempting)."
Real president Ramon Calderon hinted on Tuesday that the long-running saga had come to an end.
Calderon said the Primera Liga club's new Dutch signing Rafael van der Vaart was "the first and almost certainly the last signing we will make this season". The saga had been partly fuelled by comments from Ronaldo, who said during Euro 2008: "The possibilities (of going to Real) are big but it doesn't depend on me.
A hugely valuable player for United, Ronaldo scored 42 goals last season and was named England's Footballer of the Year for a second successive time.
Publico said on its website (www.publico.clix.pt) that Ronaldo had decided to stay at United and that the full interview would be published on Thursday but did not give any direct quotes.
Date created : 2008-08-07