It took only a few hours for the Cristiano Ronaldo speculation to start back up.
After Portugal lost 3-2 to Germany in the Euro 2008 quarterfinals, quotes from Ronaldo rekindling his transfer saga started surfacing. Though the Manchester United star remained coy in interviews given to Spanish and Portuguese press, strong language than his pre-Euro statements further hints at a desire to leave the Old Trafford.
“The possibilities to go are great,” Ronaldo said. “In the next few days we will see if we can arrive at an agreement.”
Ronaldo said it will be at least 48 hours before he makes his desires known. Real Madrid have made the Golden Shoe winner their top summer priority. Speculation on how much they are willing to offer Manchester United as a transfer fee ranges from £50 million to £70 million, with players like Sergio Ramos and Robinho being mentioned as possible makeweights. Madrid is also set to offer Ronaldo a salary fo £200,000 per week, the largest contract ever given to a professional soccer player.
Ronaldo, who said that he will be speaking to Manchester United over the next couple of days, insisted that he has yet to make his decision, though he conceded “the people around me know what I want.”
Various sources within the British press report that a decision to try and move to Real Madrid has already been made. Real Madrid representative deny this.
“We’re waiting for Cristiano to make a statement,” explains Miguel Angel Arroyo, general director at Real Madrid. “Whenever he says he wants to play for Real Madrid, there would be conversations” with Manchester United.
Ronaldo’s statements come one day after the Glazer family, through unnamed sources, would support Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to bench the Portuguese star should he fail to report to the team in July. This possibility has been born of United’s insistence their star is not for sale, not even for the £70 million figure.
While that figure, Real’s contract offer, and Ronaldo’s expressed desire to go to Madrid could pressure Ferguson into a deal, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes is said to have advised his client against handing in a formal transfer request.
The the interim, Ronaldo said he will be undergoing surgery for a foot ailment.
“I’m going to have an operation now,” he told the media, when asked what he plans to do next. “I have had a small problem for about three months.
Ronaldo was scoreless against Germany in Portugal’s loss, though he did contribute to the team’s first goal. German goalkeeper Jens Lehman made a good save on a Ronaldo shot but could not control a rebound that went to striker Nuno Gomes who put the ball in the net. The Portugal captain’s goal brought the German lead to 2-1, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose scoring within four minutes of each other starting in the 22nd minute. Klose goal was a header off a set piece where Ronaldo failed to mark the Bayern Munich striker.
A mildly controversial Michael Ballack goal gave Germany a 3-1 lead in the 62nd minute. The Chelsea star’s header from a set piece was made possible as he gave a push in the back of club teammate Paulo Ferreira, allowing him room to score the winning goal. FC Porto’s Hélder Postiga put home a Nani cross with three minutes left in regular time, but Portugal never threatened again.