Thursday, June 11, 2009

Transfers - Cristiano Ronaldo: The full saga

A blow-by-blow account of the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer war between Manchester United and Real Madrid, which appears set to be resolved with United accepting a world record bid for the Portuguese.
27 January 2007 - Sir Alex Ferguson: "We sell players we want to sell and there is absolutely no way Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving."

29 January 2007 - Ronaldo: "I know about Real Madrid's interest but I cannot speak about it. I have discussed the matter with Alex Ferguson and Carlos Queiroz and they have prohibited me from talking about Real Madrid."

6 February 2007 - Barcelona vice-president Ferran Soriano says the club have the funds to buy Ronaldo: "Barça can sign anybody they want in economic terms; the only limit is common sense."

9 February 2007 - Ferguson: "When [Real and Barcelona have] got a big game they can fill their grounds but they don't fill it every week. Old Trafford is full every week."

15 February 2007 - Sporting Lisbon's former youth-team coach reveals that Real Madrid turned down the chance to sign Ronaldo in 2003

16 February 2007 - Ferguson says he is confident that United will hold on to Ronaldo: "I am very confident. Very, very confident."

19 February 2007 - Internazionale president Massimo Moratti declares his interest, with the Serie A champions tipped to table a £35m bid.

8 March 2007 - Ronaldo: "Everyone knows that I love Spain. I would like to play in Spain one day. However I am happy here at Manchester. If I don't leave now, if I leave in two, three, four, five years, I would be happy. I am at a great club."

21 March 2007 - Ronaldo: "I consider myself a United footballer who is playing well and trying to help the team. If things keep going well, I want to stay here. I'm not a Galactico. I'm only thinking about United and I want to stay here for more than two more years."

13 April 2007 - Ronaldo pens a new five-year contract, saying: "I am delighted. I spoke with Sir Alex and [chief executive] David Gill about my future and everyone knew that I wanted to stay. I am very happy at the club and I want to win trophies and hopefully we will do that this season."

22 April 2007 - Ronaldo wins both PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards.

11 January 2008 - David Gill: "There's no chance of us selling him. Absolutely no way, whatever the money."

22 January 2008 - Ronaldo's mother says she could "die happy" if her son moves to Real.

23 January 2008 - Real sporting director Predrag Mijatovic: "I see it as an impossible signing. Of course it would not be bad for us to have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is at a great club like Manchester United."

2 April 2008 - Real coach Bernd Schuster: "In these types of things it is best to be realistic. Cristiano Ronaldo right now is a ten out of ten, the best in the world. But I don't see Manchester United as being in the business of selling."

2 May 2008 - Ronaldo is voted Footballer of the Year - only the second player to win the award in successive seasons since its introduction 60 years ago.

11 May 2008 - Real say they are willing to pay 120 million euros (£100m) for Ronaldo.

16 May 2008 - Ronaldo: "I have said a thousand times that I have one dream - to play in Spain. Sometimes your dreams don't come true but I dream, I still dream, and I am happy at Manchester United, but the future? Nobody knows."

20 May 2008 - Gill: "He's got four more years until 2012, he's been with us for five years and we're sure he'll be with us for many years to come. He's clearly one of the best players in the world and he's at a great club, winning trophies."

23 May 2008 - Ferguson condemns Real's lack of moral fibre, comparing them to former fascist dictator General Franco: "Do you not think we've had much interest from the big clubs in Europe about our best players? Of course we have, but they don't get into the nonsense Real get into. They've no moral issues at all. They think that they can ride roughshod over everyone, but they won't with us."

27 May 2008 - United threaten to report Real to FIFA over their attempt to buy Ronaldo, condemning their behaviour as "totally unacceptable" just hours after Real coach Bernd Schuster describes Ronaldo as: "The big priority for the club."

5 June 2008 - Ronaldo: "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."

6 June 2008 - Ronaldo's mother claims her son will stay at Old Trafford next season. "He is fine where he is," said Dolores Aveiro. "The future only God knows, but what is sure is that he is going to continue in England."

7 June 2008 - United captain Rio Ferdinand urges Ronaldo to stay, saying: "I want Ronny to stay and help us win more. We want to achieve things because we can. You can't stand still."

9 June 2008 - United make an official complaint about Real to FIFA.

11 June 2008 - Madrid president Ramon Calderon insists that he will not be put off Ronaldo by any asking price.

16 June 2008 - FIFA ask the Spanish Football Federation to keep their eye on Real Madrid.

19 June 2008 - Real Madrid say they are waiting for Ronaldo to make the first move that would allow them to start negotiations with United.

19 June 2008 - The 23-year-old tells reporters after Portugal's 3-2 Euro 2008 quarter-final defeat by Germany that there was a strong possibility he would leave Old Trafford.

20 June 2008 - United reiterate that he is "not for sale" in a statement.

21 June 2008 - Ronaldo describes a move to Real as "a dream" and "a step forward", and says he does not mind if he upsets Ferguson: "It is my decision. It is what I want. I don't know what I have to say to him. I have to say what I want and what I think."

22 June 2008 - Real boss Bernd Schuster claims he woud pay 100 million euros (around £80 million) to seal Ronaldo's move.

5 July 2008 - Real president Ramon Calderon admits that Ronaldo is "likely to stay" at United as any move would require "Manchester to want it".

7 July 2008 - Ronaldo undergoes surgery on his ankle in Amsterdam. Calderon, meanwhile, claims that: "If I was Manchester United I'd be happy and proud to be able to negotiate such a transfer for one of my players. Everything would be a lot easier if United realised that they could pull off the transfer of the century."

9 July 2008 - FIFA President Sepp Blatter says United should let Ronaldo leave, claiming their refusal to sell him equates to "modern slavery".

10 July 2008 - Ronaldo says he "agrees completely" with Blatter's remarks comparing him to a slave, adding that he has no idea where he will be playing next season.

13 July 2008 - Portugal's national team doctors confirm that Ronaldo will not play for 12 weeks as he recovers from ankle surgery.

18 July 2008 - Sir Alex Ferguson claims Ronaldo will definitely stay at United following talks with the winger in Lisbon.

20 July 2008 - Ronaldo says his future is still undecided despite talks with Ferguson, saying: "I don't know about the future."

22 July 2008 - David Gill reminds anyone who has spent the last two years in a coma that Ronaldo is not for sale.

5 August 2008 - Real sign of Dutch international midfielder Rafael van der Vaart from Hamburg. Calderon implies Real have given up on Ronaldo by saying: "He [Van der Vaart] is the first and almost certainly the last signing we will make this season." Hours later, Ferguson says: "The matter is closed now. He is a Manchester United player, it's finished."

7 August 2008 - Ronaldo confirms that he will stay at United, saying: "Before rumours emerge saying that I will play against my will, I want to make this clear - whoever says or writes that is lying. 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." But Ronaldo refuses to rule out a future move to the Bernabeu.

8 October 2008 - Real Madrid forward, Ruud van Nistelrooy says he is confident Ronaldo will be joining next summer. The former Manchester United man says, "one day Ronaldo will join us. This could happen next summer, or the one after,"

2 December 2008 - Ronaldo wins the Ballon d'Or.

10 December 2008 - Real Madrid manager, Bernd Schuster, states his belief that Ronaldo will be joining them next summer, "I think that next year it is going to be a little more complicated for his club to retain him. There is hope that next year he could be with us, you need to do everything possible because this player is worth it,"

11 December 2008 - Ramon Calderon says that the Ronaldo transfer saga has all instigated by Ronaldo. "The player said he wanted to come here, a dream to come to Real Madrid and we received and we were happy to know that. After that I talked to Manchester but David Gill was very clear and said they didn't want to sell at all. We want to have a good relation with all the big clubs in Europe and Manchester is one of the best and I like to have a good relationship with them forever, and they said for the moment no."

18 December 2008 - Real Madrid director Pedro Trapote reveals that Real Madrid has already signed Ronaldo. But they cannot officially announce it due to contractual reasons. Despite this, he states: "If you are asking me what we are going to do now then I would tell you that we have already signed the best player for the summer. The best of the best. It is Cristiano, there is no other. It is best to not say anything because there are some clauses that prevent us from announcing it now. For us it would be a good time, but we should not do that."

19 December 2008 - Ferguson responds by saying: "Do you think I'd sell a player to that mob? Absolutely no chance. I wouldn't sell them a virus."

1 January 2009 - Ronaldo says the situation has all been a lie and accuses people of lying about his situation: "What people are saying now is not true. Who says that is a liar because I am happy at the club, I want to stay here. I feel at home here. I feel very happy here."

8 January 2009 - Ronaldo crashes his £200,000 Ferrari 599 GTP Fiorano in a tunnel near Manchester airport.

14 January 2009 - Alex Ferguson states that Ronaldo: "Owes a lot to Manchester United for nurturing and encouraging him in the proper way at the right times."

16 January 2009 - Ramon Calderon quits as Real Madrid president following allegations of vote rigging. Florentino Perez (he of the Galactico era) becomes the favourite to take over and rumours begin to circulate that the signing of Ronaldo will be on Perez's list.

17 February 2009 - Acting Real Madrid president, Vicente Bolouda reiterates his club's confidence that Ronaldo will come to the Spanish capital. "I am convinced we will see him at the Bernabeu."

21 March 2009 - Fernao Sousa, Ronaldo's godfather, encourages him to leave Manchester United, thinking Real will make him an offer he can't refuse: "The mistake last year was to speak about Madrid so much. This year hardly anyone is saying anything and it is certain the transfer will go much better."

6 April 2009 - Ronaldo told to stop being a wuss by double Olympic champion, Usain Bolt. Interestingly, the Jamaican believes that he needs to behave more like Wayne Rooney.

18 April 2009 - Ronaldo is happy and wants to win more trophies with the Red Devils. "I am very happy here. I want to win more trophies here. At the moment I think I am at the right club. And I want to win trophies next season as well."

5 May 2009 - Manchester United have a reported bid of £60 million bid for Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery rejected. Is this a hint that they are lining up a replacement for Ronaldo.

10 May 2009 - Ronaldo reacts angrily to being substituted by Alex Ferguson against Manchester City

12 May 2009 - Spanish newspaper, El Pais, reports Ronaldo and Manchester United have signed agreements on the deal.

27 May 2009 - United lose the Champions League final 2-0 to Barcelona prompting Ronaldo to describe Ferguson's tactics as "not good".

2 June 2009 - Newly elected Real president Florentino Perez describes Ronaldo as a "model" signing as reports emerge the Spanish club will pay him £20m if they FAIL to sign him in the summer.

11 June 2009 - United confirm they have accepted an £80m bid for Ronaldo from Real Madrid, saying the player asked to leave Old Trafford.

A blow-by-blow account of the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer war between Manchester United and Real Madrid, which appears set to be resolved with United accepting a world record bid for the Portuguese.

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