Sir Alex Ferguson says that Cristiano Ronaldo will be at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future. Ronaldo pledged his immediate future to Manchester United earlier this week, but stated that he would one day like to end up at Real Madrid.
That seemed to signal that this may be Ronaldo’s final season as a Manchester United player but, speaking ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield, Ferguson expressed confidence that the Portuguese winger will remain at the club for the four remaining years of his contract – and possibly even beyond.
“As he gets older, I think Cristiano will appreciate being here more and more,” Ferguson said. “That happens with players the longer they stay here. They don’t want to leave. It’s unusual for anyone to want to leave Manchester United. Cristiano realises that, too.
“We had a good meeting over in Portugal and clarified a lot of things. He was good, and I was pleased with that. That’s why I was confident that everything was going to be all right. Cristiano will settle down and enjoy his career here. He’s got four years on his contract, and hopefully at some point we would like to extend it. That’s where we are.”
Sir Alex Ferguson insists he has no qualms about Cristiano Ronaldo spending time in Los Angeles as he recovers from his recent ankle operation.
The Manchester United manager revealed the club have sent an employee to accompany the Portuguese winger.
“He was always scheduled to have this time off in Los Angeles. There was no harm in going there,” said Ferguson.
“He’s doing some commercial things. I think he’s signed up with an LA-based company. I’ve someone there with him.”
Ferguson dismissed as “a load of rubbish” reports Ronaldo has been drinking and partying excessively during his rehabilitation.
Sir Alex Ferguson returns to work at Manchester United this morning after his holiday, convinced that he will triumph in the forthcoming battle of wills with Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portugal winger is determined to engineer a move to Real Madrid, but Ferguson is vehemently opposed to selling and will spend this week examining ways to strengthen his squad.
The two men are not believed to have spoken since Ronaldo left Manchester to join the Portugal squad in late May, with the player doing nothing to dispel rumours of growing tension between him and his club manager.
But while Ferguson has been disappointed by some of Ronaldo’s comments, he does not want to sell the player and is convinced that Ronaldo will drop the issue when he learns of the extent of United’s opposition to the sale.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s personal terms for a move to Real Madrid were agreed ‘a long time ago’, according to a senior Manchester United source. Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes is now understood to have finalised all the key details with executives from the Spanish club.
‘They have been talking for at least two months,’ the source told Observer Sport last night, ‘and it was all agreed with Real Madrid weeks ago. All this chat from [Real president] Ramón Calderón that he does not want to upset Manchester United, and Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be bought because he belongs to another club, is absolute rubbish. Discussions have gone way beyond the point of no return. Sir Alex Ferguson knows this now so you can imagine how it has gone down.’
This explains United’s decision to lodge a formal complaint with Fifa, claiming that Ronaldo has been tapped up; a threat that, although announced occasionally by clubs, is rarely acted upon. Last week a national newspaper also published a photograph of Ronaldo meeting a Real official in January in Rome, the club’s fitness instructor, Walter Di Salvo, who left Old Trafford for the Bernabéu.