United’s patience runs out over Ronaldo

MANCHESTER United have taken the unusual step of reporting Real Madrid to FIFA for what they see as the continued courting of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The double winners want closure on the issue, two weeks after warning the Spanish club to stay silent on the subject of the 23-year-old Portugal winger or else face action.

United believe Real have failed to comply, resulting in a complaint to world football’s governing body.

A FIFA spokesman said: “We have received an official request from Manchester United to look into the matter. We need time to analyse them before we can make any decision.”

United manager Alex Ferguson has already voiced his disliking of Real’s public pursuit of Ronaldo, pointing out their major domestic rivals, Barcelona, refrain from public expressions of admiration for other clubs’ players. He is adamant Ronaldo neither wants to, nor will be leaving Old Trafford this summer.

A club statement on their website read: “On 27 May, Manchester United made clear its intention to report Real Madrid to FIFA if it continued to involve itself in the future of Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Unfortunately, Real Madrid has not kept its own counsel and the club feels it has no alternative but to make a formal complaint to the world governing body.”

On May 27 coach Bernd Schuster said Ronaldo was his club’s number one summer transfer target.

The Portugal winger scored 42 goals last season and was named Player of the Year by both the Professional Footballers’ Association and the Football Writers’ Association.

Schuster said: “There are other players we have been looking at but everything has slowed down a little due to all this Cristiano Ronaldo business, seeing as he is the big priority for the club.”

Ronaldo has continued to send out mixed messages about his future.

He recently told Brazilian website Terra: “I would like to play for Real Madrid — but only if it is true they are ready to pay what Manchester United ask of them. However, it does not depend on me.”

The Portugal international then vowed not to discuss the subject further until after Euro 2008.

United’s action is bound to dismay Real after president Ramon Calderon last week insisted his club would never risk their relationship with them by trying to unsettle Ronaldo.

“We would never (approach a player under contract) as this is not the policy of Real Madrid, and especially not with a club who we are such good friends with,” he said.

FIFA’s regulations do not stipulate any possible sanction against Real Madrid but they do say one club have to inform another if they are to start negotiations with their player. However, the rules do not specifically state however that the club that owns the player have to give consent.

Meanwhile United legend Eric Cantona has urged Ronaldo to stay in Manchester, but insists the club will still win trophies without him.

“He’s the best player in the world so we all want him to stay at United, but if he wants to leave I think United will still win things.”


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