Alex Ferguson has launched a stinging attack on Real Madrid’s claims they have done a deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and vowed: “I would not sell you a virus.”
The Manchester United manager thought he had put an end to immediate speculation over Ronaldo’s future plans when he talked the Ballon D’Or winner into staying at Old Trafford last summer.
In recent times conciliatory messages have been coming out of the Bernabeu which suggested they would turn their attentions elsewhere, having established United are not willing to part with their star man.
However, the calm waters have been rocked again after bold claims from Real director Pedro Trapote who said the deal to sign Ronaldo had been agreed.
The initial private reaction was terse and to the point. Now Ferguson has gone public with an amazing attack which left no doubt he would not be doing business with Real now, next summer, or at any time in the future.
“Do you think I would enter into a contract with that mob?” he said.
“No chance. I would not sell them a virus. That is a ’no’ by the way. There is no agreement whatsoever between the clubs.”
Although Ferguson was eventually guided away from the subject, he still managed to outline his view on Real’s strategy, which the United boss feels is being influenced by Ronaldo’s close friend Gabriel Heinze, who joined Real from the Red Devils last year after he was denied his preferred choice of a move to Liverpool.
Ferguson knows the speculation will not stop. However, he wants to try to concentrate on his own team.
“Real blame anybody but themselves,” he said.
“I said to (chief executive) David Gill a year last summer when we sold Gabriel Heinze he could bet his life this stuff will all start up around Ronaldo in January. It will happen again this January.
“We just have to ignore it. If we worry about what Real Madrid have to say we are not concentrating on our own publicity and the programme of difficult games we have got coming up.
“Sometimes they create an angry situation and sometimes I get really annoyed with them. But we know their game. I think we should play ours and ignore them.”
Ferguson’s outspoken comments have added a fascinating sub-plot to tomorrow’s Champions League draw, with Real one of five potential knock-out round opponents for the Old Trafford outfit.
The pairings will certainly draw attention away from the Club World Cup final meeting with LDU Quito; Ronaldo one of the goalscorers in United’s 5-3 semi-final spectacular with J.League side Gamba Osaka.
Ronaldo doubled United’s lead after Nemanja Vidic had put them in front with a trademark header.
But the real fun began once Wayne Rooney was introduced 18 minutes from time.
The England forward scored with virtually his first touch immediately after Gamba had pulled a goal back.
Darren Fletcher got his name on the scoresheet before Rooney struck again, only for Gamba to grab two goals themselves at the death.
“I think Wayne can be a number nine,” said Ferguson of Rooney’s ability to play in a more direct attacking role.
“We are trying to develop him that way. We have tried to play him there for most of the season.
“His movement, strength and penetration are very good. For the third goal that really killed them he made two runs, across and back and across and behind. They were really clever.
“It marks out the quality he can give you in that position and he will improve from there.”
Ferguson has vowed to make changes for the Quito encounter – the normal Europe versus South America clash to decide the world number one.
It will be the last game Patrice Evra is eligible for until January 11, following the four-match ban imposed on him by the FA for violent conduct in the post-match fracas at Chelsea last season.
In their conclusions, which have been made public, the FA blamed Evra for starting the trouble, while condemning the evidence offered by, among others, Ferguson’s assistant Mike Phelan, who was described as unreliable and unimpressive.
“To go through what they have said would take up too much time,” said Ferguson.
“As I have said before, we are disappointed. I don’t think what the FA have done is very clever.”