Cristiano WILL stay at Man UtdAugust 7, 2008
Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed that he will remain a Manchester United player for “at least one more year”.
The 23-year-old Portugal winger had frequently expressed his desire to leave for Spanish champions Real Madrid this summer.
But he told Portuguese paper Publico: “Manager Sir Alex Ferguson heard my arguments, I heard his and it was felt the best thing would be for me to stay.
“I can confirm that next season I will play for Manchester United.”
Ferguson, speaking after the club’s goalless friendly with Juventus on Wednesday, said he was “pleased” Ronaldo was staying.
And Ferguson gave a revealing insight into how he dealt with the Ronaldo transfer saga, which resulted in two months of frenzied speculation over whether the player would leave.
“I flew to Portugal some weeks ago and we cleared the air and he spoke to some of the players,” Ferguson told MUTV.
“The boy has been through a troubled time in terms of the approaches from Spain but once he knew my stance, he then settled down.
“The fans have got to understand; it’s very difficult when a young boy is tempted by all this money.
“We can put this to bed now. It’s finished and the boy is a Manchester United player and that’s the most important thing.”
Ronaldo, under contract with United until 2012, is currently recovering from surgery on an ankle injury and is likely to be sidelined until the end of September.
But the Portuguese star used the interview to underline his desire to achieve the heights of last season in which he was the club’s top scorer with 42 goals.
“Before rumours emerge saying that I will play against my will, I want to make this clear – whoever says or writes that is lying,” Ronaldo told Publico.
“I will play for Manchester with all my heart and soul. I will fight and honour that shirt with the same commitment and dedication as always.”
Ronaldo also conceded that he played his part in fuelling the speculation and that he was guilty of fracturing United’s relationship with Real Madrid.
“I was responsible for all this controversy,” he added.
“I was the one who publicly expressed my desire to go to Real Madrid. I ended up being, even involuntarily, responsible for the poor relationship between the two clubs.”
Yet the Portuguese winger, reigning double footballer of the year in England after helping Manchester United to the Premier League title and a Champions League triumph last season, did not rule out an eventual move to Real at some point in his career.
“I knew Real Madrid were interested in signing me and that they had allegedly made a very high offer to Manchester United,” he stated.
“My desire was, for some time, that Manchester had accepted my transfer to Madrid. Saying otherwise would be to trick people and my own consciousness.”
Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster said: “You have to respect his decision.
“He was free to do what he wanted and it’s a shame that he isn’t coming to us because he’s a player who would really have improved this great group.
“But hey, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got a great group to get started on an important league campaign and fight for all the objectives we’ve set.
“It’s a decision we have to accept.”