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Monday, June 30, 2008

Winger open to Blades offer

Lee Martin admits he is playing a waiting game over his United career, with talks over his future looming large.

The 21-year-old winger expects to meet Sir Alex Ferguson this week and, should he be told that his future lies away from Old Trafford, Martin would love to return to Sheffield United after last season's successful loan.

"I'm still at United and it's a matter of going back on the first of July and speaking to the gaffer," Martin told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"It's all up in the air and nothing has been said yet. It's a bit weird and just a waiting game at the minute. I enjoyed my time at Sheffield United and would definitely go back if an offer came in. But it's out of my hands."

Martin was impressed with the Blades' set-up during his brief stay in Sheffield, and he has no doubt that they belong back in England's top flight.

"They definitely have a great chance," he said. "I think they have got one of the strongest squads in the Championship and with the gaffer, Kevin Blackwell, they've got a really talented manager.

"It's a massive club which belongs in the Premiership. They know they have to get there next season and after such a strong finish under Kevin they will fancy their chances."

Rio plays down captaincy talk

Rio Ferdinand won't let ongoing speculation about the England captaincy distract him from his longstanding focus on silverware.

The United defender is tipped as a strong contender to become Fabio Capello's permanent skipper, but he insists he would not be disappointed if the Italian opted to hand the armband to another contender.

"A lot of people have been talking about it (the captaincy) but it is not the be all and end all for me," he told Sky Sports News. "I go out and play for my team and try to win trophies."

Ferdinand repeatedly skippered United during last season's Double campaign, while the likes of Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and John O'Shea also led the Reds for at least one game. In Rio's eyes, having so many potential leaders together can render the armband obsolete.

"I've said many times that the more captains you have on the pitch the better it is for the team," he said. "At United last season we had a lot of captains no matter who wore the armband, so if that can transpire to the England team then great."

Boss eyes sole signing

Sir Alex Ferguson says United are about to become active in the hunt for new players.

Now Euro 2008 has ended, the boss expects the transfer market to belatedly click into gear but says he is unlikely to bring in more than one new face to his double-winning squad.

"The European Championship derails transfer activity," said Sir Alex. "Nothing really happens during the tournament. But now it's all over, managers will be back at their clubs and you can get some dialogue now if there's interest.

"I wouldn't think (we'll sign) any more than one player. We are looking at one or two things."

Sir Alex now has the task of procuring the right player at the right price, a task which invariably proves taxing when faced with reluctant sellers.

"People think it's easy to buy players nowadays but it's not," he said.

"Money plays a big part, first of all. And clubs with ambitions don't want to sell their best players. So it's not as easy as you'd think. We tend to look for younger players."

Sir Alex was speaking to Sky Sports at the Great Scots Cup charity golf event.

Boss Believes He Can Keep Ronaldo

Sir Alex Ferguson returns to work at Manchester United this morning after his holiday, convinced that he will triumph in the forthcoming battle of wills with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal winger is determined to engineer a move to Real Madrid, but Ferguson is vehemently opposed to selling and will spend this week examining ways to strengthen his squad. While Ferguson has been disappointed by some of Ronaldo’s comments, he does not want to sell the player and is convinced that Ronaldo will drop the issue when he learns of the extent of United’s opposition to the sale. United have been encouraged that, despite frequent references to Ronaldo’s “dream” of joining Real, he has not demanded a move and that the statement he planned to make more than a week ago, in which he intended to plead with United to let him move to Spain, has not materialised.
Oliver Kay, The Times

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Neville eyes battle with Brown

Gary Neville is braced for the most important pre-season of his United career.

The defender not only has to prove his fitness after missing almost the entire 2007/08 campaign, he also to oust the man who replaced him as the Reds' regular right-back.

"I've got a number of challenges ahead of me and the ultimate one is to try and get back into that team ahead of Wes (Brown)," said Gary, in an exclusive interview with MUTV.

"That's going to be hard for me given the way Wes performed last season. I would say he was in our top two or three most consistent players. He was fantastic throughout the season and deserved all the success he got.

"I can talk about my injuries and being out for 12 months, but Wes has had two cruciate ligament injuries and been out for 12 months twice. I know now where he was during those years and I appreciate how difficult it is. And even though Wes is younger than me, he is a great example to me of how you come back into the team after an injury."

Neville's bid to get back into the team starts on Wednesday when the Reds reconvene at Carrington, initially without the men who represented their countries at Euro 2008.

"Pre-season is hugely important for every player but this time it's massive for me as I try to break into a team that's won the Double," said Gary. "And it's an even greater challenge than normal for the team as we try to repeat the success of last season."

Ronaldo expected at Man United preseason

Rio Ferdinand expects Cristiano Ronaldo will report for pre-season training with Manchester United - but concedes he is in the dark over his team-mate's long-term future.

Ronaldo remains the subject of intense speculation linking him with Real Madrid.

The Portugal winger was the star of United's Premier League and Champions League-winning campaign last season and defender Ferdinand does not want him to leave.

The England international told Sky Sports: 'We'd love him to be with us next season. Whatever happens is going to happen.

'We're like the fans, we pick up the papers and read what is going on. We know as much as anyone else.

'We will be going to preseason and I am sure Ronaldo will be there and we will be going with the aim of working hard together and starting off a good new season.'

UEFA chief Platini endorses Ronaldo pursuit

Manchester United's hopes of fending off Real Madrid's interest in Cristiano Ronaldo have been dealt a further blow after UEFA president Michel Platini publicly endorsed the Spanish side's pursuit of the player.

United have already had an official complaint against Real rejected by FIFA and now Platini has said the Madrid club's public wooing of the player is part and parcel of the game.

Platini told a news conference in Vienna: 'Every club in the world would like to have Ronaldo.

'It's part of the system we have today. Players move from club to club and I can understand why Real Madrid want him.

'They had Di Stefano and Puskas in the past, and as Ronaldo is considered one of the best or the best player in the world it's normal.

'If the club has the finances they can do it so, if they don't have the money they can't.'

Platini also expressed his delight over the quality of the football in this tournament in Austria and Switzerland but issued a stiff warning to Euro 2012 hosts Poland and Ukraine to get moving on stadium development.

Platini is to head a top-level inspection visit to the two eastern European countries next week, and will focus on the stadiums in Warsaw and Kiev.

He will demand cast-iron guarantees from the organisers that the two stadiums will be ready - work has not started on the new stadium in the Polish capital, while contractors have not been appointed yet for the major refurbishment of the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Platini denied however that Italy have already been lined up as replacements.

He said: 'We will do everything we can to hold it in Poland or Ukraine.

'There is no back-up plan, we have never had any second thoughts or other thoughts and we respect our decision to go to Poland and Ukraine.

'The only thing which would make me decide not to go is if there is no stadiums in the capitals, Warsaw and Kiev. If there are no stadiums there, no tournament.'

It now looks as if Ukraine and Poland face a major battle to convince UEFA, but Italy would not be a straightforward alternative - they too would have to have a major stadium development programme.

The only countries with ready-made stadium facilities are England, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Meanwhile, Platini has invited Luis Arconada, the goalkeeper who was guilty of a howler when the UEFA president captained France to victory over Spain in the 1984 European Championships final, to be his personal guest at tomorrow's final.

Arconada fumbled Platini's free-kick and let the ball squeeze under his body and France went on to win 2-0.

Platini said: 'I was thinking while I was shaving this morning that I took the trophy off the Spanish 24 years ago but could be handing it back to them tomorrow.

'When we called Arconada he said 'is this a joke?' but it's great to be able to invite a former opponent.'

Platini added: 'He has nothing to reproach himself for - my goal was impeccable! It was Bruno Bellone's second goal for us that was extremely lucky.'

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scholes' midfield mates

Sir Alex Ferguson is spoilt for choice in the centre of the park with Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Owen Hargreaves, Darren Fletcher and Anderson all vying for a starting berth.

Here, veteran midfielder Paul Scholes gives us the lowdown on his fellow comrades...

Michael is a top player who brings a relaxed nature to the team. He can pick the ball up anywhere on the pitch and pass it long or short. He can also tackle and score goals, so he can do everything. He’s just a really good player to play with.

I knew Owen before he joined from our England days. He’s a great athlete who gets about the pitch very well and is a good passer of the ball.

Last season was a bit stop-start for him because of injuries, but once he got some more games under his belt, he proved what a top player he is.

All the players know what a quality player Fletch is. He was unfortunate not to play for parts of last season, but you have to give him credit for sticking at it. He never moaned, he just continued to train well every day and more than anyone he deserved his chance. Whenever he plays he’s fantastic for the team and he showed that against Arsenal in the FA Cup victory back in February. It was unbelievable to see the way he ran about, despite not having really played for a couple of months.

He improved as last season went on and is a great prospect. It’s a well known fact that foreign players can take time to settle, but in truth it didn’t take him that long. He’s been fantastic whenever he’s played. He’s only 20-years-old so it’s amazing to think what he could achieve in his career.

Ron: I WILL come back

Cristiano Ronaldo has phoned Manchester United to say 'I’ll be back'. SunSport can reveal that the Portuguese star dramatically made contact with Old Trafford for the first time in a month. Ronaldo, 23, has given United fans the news they most wanted by informing the club he would be going straight on holiday and would return, as instructed, for pre-season training. His call makes it clear Ronaldo does not envisage any move to Real Madrid in the coming weeks. The player was told he must be back at United three weeks from the day Portugal’s interest in Euro 2008 ended – July 10 – and he has said he will be there.
Neil Custis, The Sun

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reds bar for Bangkok

Reds fans in Thailand will soon have a place to meet, eat and watch the matches - the Manchester United Restaurant & Bar in Bangkok.

The new venue will serve Thai, Asian and English / American cuisine and show United games and other major sporting events live on a state-of-the-art video wall. Fans will also be able to watch the action while drinking or dining outdoors, thanks to a giant projector screen. The restaurant and bar will also be adorned with United memorabilia and photos of players past and present.

The Bangkok outlet will be the third Reds-themed restaurant and bar to be opened by Manchester United Food & Beverage Asia Pte Ltd (MUFB Asia), with two such venues already open in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Bandung. Another is planned for Seoul, Korea before the end of this year.

Andy Yun, chief executive officer of MUFB Asia, said: “We believe United’s fans in Thailand have been waiting for a place like this to bring them closer to the Club.

“We’re confident that over time, the Manchester United Restaurant & Bar will become the connecting point between the Club and its 14 million fans in Thailand.”

MUFB Asia has granted a franchise to Venture Group to open the Manchester United Restaurant & Bar in the city of Bangkok. The company has secured a site within a new four-star hotel at Sukhumwit 11 Road which will open its doors in October 2008.

The signing of the franchise agreement was done in the presence of the Premier League trophy during its three-week tour of Asian cities. The trophy had previously been paraded by the club’s commercial partners in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Singapore.

Queiroz urges Ronaldo to stay

Carlos Queiroz has urged Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at Old Trafford because the club can give him the "attention and affection" he deserves.

The Reds' number two is keen not to comment on media speculation that Ronaldo will join Real Madrid, but insists United is the best place for the winger to be next season.

"Manchester United is very special," Queiroz told Portuguese radio station Renascenca. "Because of that we know how to surround Cristiano completely with all the affection and all the attention he deserves.

"However, not speaking is the most sensible course of action at this moment, so that we don't contribute to a less than positive spectacle and so we don't aid those whose interests are difficult to identify."

Queiroz has also been linked with the Portugal coaching job vacated by Luis Felipe Scolari, but refused to declare his interest in the post.

"I'm not going to put myself in the market because the decision on the national coach should not be a result of those who make themselves candidates, but a decision that is conscious, rational and based on what the Federation judges [believe] is necessary for the team.

"I'm not going to tell you whether or not I'm contacted, that way I know for sure that it will be dealt with in due form and in due place."

Real: We won't pay £80m

Real Madrid last night ruled out a mega-bid for Cristiano Ronaldo. President Ramon Calderon denied Real will smash the transfer world record by saying: “We’ll never pay £80million for one player.” And in another amazing twist, SunSport can reveal United would not be allowed to let Ronaldo rot in the stands rather than let him go. FIFA rules state a player can walk away if he features in fewer than 10 per cent of his club’s matches in a season. Calderon, who has infuriated United boss Alex Ferguson with his public chasing of Ronaldo, now claims to be delighted the player has made public his desire to move to the Bernabeu. He said: “We are very happy with the declaration of the player. But it does not depend on him, it depends on United. There is no issue with Ronaldo but they don’t want to sell. The English club have to make the first step. United have the last word.”
Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun

Monday, June 23, 2008

Edwin will miss Oranje

Edwin van der Sar may not have signed off from international football in the way he would have liked, but he remains proud of his achievements for his country which included a record 128 caps.

The Dutch skipper did his utmost to keep Holland in their Euro 2008 quarter-final tie with Russia on Saturday night after a surprisingly poor display from the Oranje, who had set the tournament alight during the group stages.

But Van der Sar was powerless to stop Guus Hiddink's side progressing to the last four thanks to two extra-time goals, giving them a 3-1 victory overall.

"I had the feeling that we could have saved the day if it had gone to a penalty shoot-out, but that was all gone after they scored their second goal," admitted the 37-year-old. "I think we had a great tournament and unfortunately we couldn't produce the level of play that we did in the first two games [against Italy and France].

"We created too few chances ourselves and gave too much away. Russia played very well, we did not - and that hurts. You have one bad game in the knockout stages and you are out. That's the way it is.

"These are the tournaments I will miss most, they are the nicest to experience," added van der Sar, who also hinted next season will be his last at Old Trafford. "I have reached quarter-finals and semi-finals, but that's not enough. You always want more than that. Every two years there is only one team that wins the tournament, and in my playing days that has not been for me to experience. But I have enjoyed it, that's for sure."

Real will pay 'whatever it takes' for Ronaldo

Real Madrid are prepared to smash the world transfer record with an £80 million bid for Cristiano Ronaldo after the Spanish club's manager, Bernd Schuster, said they would "pay whatever it takes" to lure the Portuguese winger from Old Trafford. With the Spanish champions also offering to pay Ronaldo £182,000-a-week after tax, the potential deal is nearly double what is currently the biggest transfer in football history which occured when Zinedine Zidane joined Madrid from Juventus for £46 million in 2001. With Ronaldo having announced his "dream" of joining Madrid, the club expect the 23-year-old to force United's hand over the sale, or put in a transfer request. Madrid may offer a cash-plus-player deal involving Wesley Sneijder or Robinho. Read more...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Schuster urges Real Madird to dig deep for Ronaldo

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has urged his club to 'pay what is necessary' to take Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabeu.

United continue to insist the winger is not for sale, but with Ronaldo refusing to publicly commit to the European champions a move may be on the cards.

A world-record transfer fee of 100 million euros has been talked about and Schuster insists the Primera Liga champions must be ready to dig deep.

'For a player of his kind of level, we must pay what is necessary,' he told German television channel DSF.

'Because, for us what is most important is to win the Champions League and he can help us achieve that.'

United have reported the Spanish club to world governing body FIFA over what they consider to be attempts to unsettle the player.

And the Madrid boss admitted he would have behaved similarly with such a vital player as Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals in all competitions last season.

'When you have a player of such quality nobody wants to let him go,' he added.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ronaldo and United at odds over Real transfer

The battle of wills between Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United looks set to continue for some time as the in-demand winger signalled his intention to 'take advantage of a great opportunity' - just hours after the club insisted any offers for the player will fall on deaf ears.

The double winners felt obliged yesterday to post a 'not for sale' notice on their club website as speculation - fanned by the player's own comments immediately after Portugal's exit from Euro 2008 - increased about his future.

However, the player has now gone even further by claiming he will follow the example of his national team boss Luiz Felipe Scolari and seize a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Scolari will take over at Chelsea next month having decided midway through the country's European Championship campaign he wanted to move back into club management.

And Ronaldo said he cannot pass up a 'great opportunity'.

'It [moving to Real] is a dream, a step forward, you can call it what you want,' he said in The Times.

'For me it is a great opportunity and, as Scolari says, that train passes by only once and we have to take advantage of it.

'That is why he took advantage of his change. Other people have to take advantage of opportunities, too.'

Asked whether he was concerned his actions would upset United manager Sir Alex Ferguson the winger added: 'It is my opinion. That is why I don't mind if people get upset.

'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.'

Ronaldo's United contract runs until 2012 and the club are anxious to dissuade any possible suitors.

The statement on their website, yesterday said: 'Further to Friday's press speculation about where Cristiano Ronaldo's future lies, the club has moved to reiterate its stance on the matter: United are not listening to offers.'

Just as mysterious as Ronaldo's future appears to be, so does a foot problem last season's 42-goal scorer has suffered.

After Portugal exited Euro 2008 this week, Ronaldo claimed he needed an immediate operation as he had been troubled by the injury for three months.

He intimated that he would liaise with United's medical team in the next few days.

Portuguese Football Federation spokesman Onofre Costa told PA Sport: 'Ronaldo has already said he had an injury a couple of months ago.

'But the federation cannot confirm or deny that he's going to have surgery. It is down to his club or the player to decide.'

Real Madrid have made no secret of their desire to sign Ronaldo with United reporting the Spanish club to world governing body FIFA over what they considered attempts to unsettle the player.

Yet despite United's determination to keep their star player, Ronaldo has refused to confirm his commitment to the club since speculation over his future began soon after last month's Champions League final.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Patrice Evra Highlights Video Clips


Ronaldo drops Real hint

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo last night all but admitted that he is looking to leave the European champions for Real Madrid. The 23-year-old finally broke his silence about his club future after Portugal's 3-2 defeat to Germany in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008. "In two or three days' time I will announce my future because the tournament is over for me," he said in Portuguese after the game. "I will speak to Manchester United. I will try to reach an agreement and we will see." "In the coming days there might be news," Ronaldo added. "The possibilities are great, but it does not depend on me.
"I think there is a specific proposal, let's see if we reach agreement in the coming days." Though when asked if he had made a decision regarding a move to Real Madrid, he replied: "No, not yet."
Neil Leigh, Manchester Evening News

Reds earn England call-ups

United teenagers Danny Welbeck and Ben Amos have been named in a provisional England squad to travel to the U19 European Championships in July.

Striker Welbeck, 17, and goalkeeper Amos, 18, both enjoyed successful seasons with United’s Academy side, with Welbeck also turning out regularly for the Reserves.

Brian Eastick’s 23-man England squad will be whittled down to 18 for the tournament, which takes place in the Czech Republic between 14 July and 26 July.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old forward Jesse Lingard, who plied his trade in United’s U16 side last season, will travel with the England U17 side to the 2008 Nordic Tournament in Sweden.

England face Finland on 28 July, before further group games against Iceland and Norway. Read more...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ronaldo loses patience with United

Cristiano Ronaldo edged closer to the Old Trafford exit last night as he revealed he has lost patience with United. The Reds have taken a bullish stance over Real Madrid's aggressive pursuit of the Portuguese superstar, briefing over the weekend that Ronaldo was starting to accept he will not be allowed to leave this summer. But a close friend said: "Ronaldo has made his mind up now and feels it is just time to wait before he announces what he will do - which is to go to Madrid."
Martin Lipton, Daily Mirror

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ole gears up for new role

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will face his first match as manager of United's Reserves in a pre-season friendly at Burscough on July 12.

The former first team striker will team up with Warren Joyce to steer the Reds' second string next season.

Three preparatory matches have been arranged to get Solskjaer's young side ready for the Lancashire Senior Cup final against Liverpool on July 30.

After the Reds take on Burscough at Victoria Park, they travel to Altrincham's Moss Lane on July 19 and face Oxford United a week later at the Kassam Stadium.

All three matches are Saturday, 3pm kick-offs, and precede the Reds' cup final date with Liverpool at the County Ground in Leyland.

Victory over the Merseysiders will give United a cup Double for the 2007/08 campaign, having clinched the Manchester Senior Cup last month at Old Trafford.

Heat on for No 1 jersey

He may be yet to kick - or catch - a ball in anger at Cardiff City, but Tom Heaton is already thinking ahead to life as United's first choice goalkeeper.

The 22-year-old England youth international has joined the Bluebirds on loan for the entire 2008/09 campaign, and he sees the move as a stepping stone towards a bright future at Old Trafford.

"It would mean everything to become Manchester United’s number one,” Heaton told the official Cardiff website. "As soon as I first signed and started to play for United at under-12 level that was the goal I set out to achieve.

"Nothing has changed since then. My move to Cardiff City is another step towards that target – and it is in the back of my mind all the time."

Heaton had several offers from clubs wanting to take him on loan but, after a season in which Cardiff reached the FA Cup final and had been well placed for the Championship playoffs, he opted to head for south Wales.

"All things considered it was decided that Cardiff City offered the best opportunity for me," said Heaton. "They have huge ambition to challenge for promotion next season and they play good football.

"They are two of the main reasons I was keen to sign for Cardiff. First and foremost my aim is to be number one. I need to be playing. I talked to the manager (Dave Jones) and chairman (Peter Ridsdale) and there is no doubt the whole club is geared towards promotion and I am certainly no different."

Reds back in for Berbatov

Sir Alex Ferguson will go all out to sign Dimitar Berbatov when the United boss returns from holiday. Fergie is ready to go back to Tottenham with a £25million bid — the same amount he offered in a doomed attempt to capture the Bulgarian striker last summer. That cash is still available to Fergie, who has been on a break in France. United have also banked another £32m for winning the Champions League. Around £20m has been earmarked for making Carlos Tevez’s transfer permanent. Spurs are ready to sell Berbatov, 27, after bringing in Croatia’s Luka Modric and Mexican Giovani Dos Santos. And agent Emil Dantchev insists Berbatov must be playing in the Champions League.
Neil Custis, The Sun

Friday, June 13, 2008

Real's Ramos 'flattered' by interest from Man Utd

MADRID, June 13 (Primera Liga) - Spain defender Sergio Ramos is flattered by reported interest from Manchester United and admitted he would 'see what happens' following Euro 2008.

The Real Madrid defender was one of the cornerstones of the club's Primera Liga title defence last season and is a first-choice for national team coach Luis Aragones.

Although he stressed he was not angling for a move while his focus was on events in Austria and Switzerland, he was vague about his future following the summer showpiece.

When asked about United's interest on radio station Canal Sur, he said: 'It is a good sign that big clubs are interested in me, but at the moment I am not considering anything.

'I have a good contract with Madrid and I am concentrating on the national team. When Euro 2008 finishes we will see what happens.'

Ramos' agent Sergio Bravo did little to quell the speculation by claiming he has a good working relationship with the Old Trafford club.

He said: 'It is true that on Monday I was in England.

'I have a good relationship with Manchester United. I sorted the transfer of (goalkeeper) Ricardo to the English club.'

A deal could be delicate to broker, however, as United recently reported Madrid to FIFA over claims the Spanish giants have carried out a deliberate campaign to unsettle Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

Petrucci signing angers Roma

Manchester United last night came under fire after signing one of Italy's most promising young strikers. Just days after they were pipped by Arsenal to the signature of 17-year-old Cardiff midfielder Aaron Ramsey, United snapped up Davide Petrucci, 16, who scored 14 goals in 19 matches last season and was the top scorer in Roma's youth team. He has also starred for Italy's under-17 team. United will pay Petrucci £95,000 a year and will cover the cost of regular flights home to Italy. The deal is the maximum permissible offer for a youth-team player. Roma will receive around £200,000 in compensation but the move has caused fury. Petrucci, who comes from the San Basilio suburb of Rome, has been compared to a young Francesco Totti and could have made the first-team squad next year.
Malcolm Moore, Daily Telegraph

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Evra puts pen to paper

Manchester United is pleased to announce French full-back Patrice Evra has signed a four-year extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until at least June 2012.

Sir Alex said: “Patrice has been a key part of the Club’s success in the last two seasons. He's developed into one of the best full-backs in world football and his infectious personality has helped build the incredible team spirit that exists at Old Trafford.”

Evra, 27, was delighted to pledge his future to United, claiming "the last two-and-a-half seasons have been the start of a dream".

"It's a pleasure and an honour to be part of this fantastic side and to be coached by Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff," he said. "United is more than a club – it’s a family I am proud to be a part of and that's why it's always been a first choice for me.

“I declared when I arrived that I was coming here not just to play but to win, and United is the ideal place to realise such a dream. It's a privilege to play in front of our fantastic fans and I'm sure the success we've earned in the last two seasons confirms the history of this club and will be the start of something even more special.”

Carry Ron Tapping

Manchester United are reeling after FIFA said: We won’t stop Real Madrid tapping up Cristiano Ronaldo. As the winking winger inspired Portugal to a win over the Czech Republic, a senior FIFA official said: “United’s chances of getting Real punished are zero.” The Red Devils have already made an official complaint, hoping world soccer’s governing body will stop the Spaniards’ bid to lure Ronaldo from Old Trafford. But the Spaniards insist no one can prove they have tapped up Ronaldo — and FIFA agree, despite United’s protests. A member of FIFA’s executive committee told SunSport: "I think everyone knows that these things go on in football but proving any wrongdoing is next to impossible. Real are very powerful and I don’t think they’ll be too worried about United’s claims."
Ian McGarry, The Sun

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rio tips Boss to stay on

Sir Alex Ferguson may have intimated that he will step down as United manager within the next three years, but Rio Ferdinand disagrees.

Although the Reds' manager is approaching 70, United and England defender Ferdinand cannot envisage how Sir Alex would cope without life at Carrington.

“I don’t think he’ll leave in two or three years," he told Sky Sports News. "I think his passion for the game will overtake everything else.

"The manager loves football. He eats, breathes and every minute of the day is thinking and talking about it, so I can’t see him leaving.”

Sir Alex previously announced his intention to retire in 2002, but reversed his decision after consulting his family.

However, he recently admitted: "I deserve a rest. I have also got to respect my wife too, because she's suffering. She's not a football fan, she's an Alex Ferguson fan."

Real's shady Rondezvous

The man with Cristiano Ronaldo in pictures printed by The Sun on Wednesday compiled a detailed dossier on the Manchester United star which he handed to Real Madrid. These are the photos that Madrid yesterday claimed could not possibly exist. They show Ronaldo secretly meeting Real’s fitness coach Valter Di Salvo in Rome in January. Di Salvo worked with Ronaldo for three seasons at Old Trafford, where they formed a strong bond. Sources close to Ronaldo insisted at the time it was a chance meeting as the Portugal winger took a two-day break in the Italian capital. Yet the full picture only now begins to emerge because we can reveal Di Salvo, who controversially left United last summer to join Madrid, gave the Spanish giants a full report on Ronaldo. Madrid technical director Miguel Angel Portugal, sporting director Pedja Mijatovic and board member Carlos Bucero asked Di Salvo to compile his detailed assessment on every aspect of Ronaldo.
Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Real Madrid to test United with £60m bid for Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United took the extraordinary step yesterday of reporting Real Madrid to Fifa, world football’s governing body, over their public pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo. Relations between two of the world’s biggest clubs seem certain to deteriorate further in the coming weeks. Real are preparing a world-record offer for the 23-year-old Portugal forward once his participation in the European Championship finals is over.
Sources in Madrid indicated last night that Real will offer United a fee in the region of £60 million for Ronaldo after Portugal are eliminated from the tournament, or, if they reach the final, after June 29.
Oliver Kay, The Times

Ramsey snubs United

Cardiff City starlet Aaron Ramsey has decided to join Arsenal, snubbing offers from United and Everton.

The highly-rated 17-year-old midfielder met with all three clubs for talks after bids - believed to be around £5million - were accepted last week.

The Premier League and Champions League holders appeared to be in pole position to sign the talented young Welsh international, but Cardiff have since confirmed the teenager's future lies elsewhere.

"Cardiff City were informed on Friday morning that Aaron Ramsey’s preferred destination this summer is at the Emirates Stadium with Arsenal,” Cardiff's website confirmed.

"We will now continue the dialogue with the Gunners with a view to Aaron’s move being completed.

"The move, unlike other options, however, does not include a loan-back period at Ninian Park for the 2008/09 season."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Manchester United report Real 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, 13 days after warning the Spanish club to stay silent on the subject of the 23-year-old Portugal winger or else.

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

A FIFA spokesman said: 'I can confirm that we have received an official request from Manchester United to look into the matter.

'We have only just received the documents so we need some time to analyse them before we can make any decision.'

United manager Sir 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 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, which it has done today.

'The precise content and nature will remain confidential.'

On that date, 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 is an admirer of arguably the world's finest player and 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.

'The English way has been a perfect education for a player with such exceptional individual talent.

'There he has learned to enjoy his football as a complete professional. This means we would get a Cristiano who would arrive here with his lessons learned.'

Ronaldo has continued to send out mixed messages about his future after helping United win the Champions League and retain their Barclays Premier League title.

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 in Austria and Switzerland, where he is representing his country.

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

'We can't do anything if the club that owns him don't want to sell,' he told Marca.

'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.'

However Calderon's comments would appear to have cut little ice with United, who are now looking for a positive response from FIFA.

A Real spokesperson said: 'We know nothing of this matter at this time and we have no comment to make on the topic.'

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.

The rules do not specifically state however that the club that owns the player have to give consent.

Article 18 of FIFA's regulations for the status and transfer of players states: 'A club intending to conclude a contract with a professional must inform the player's current club in writing before entering into negotiations with him.

'A professional shall only be free to conclude a contract with another club if his contract with his present club has expired or is due to expire within six months. Any breach of this provision shall be subject to appropriate sanctions.'

Louis plans to remain a Red

Despite speculation linking Louis Saha with an Old Trafford exit, his advisors claim the Frenchman remains focussed on United’s 2008/09 campaign.

The most recent press reports claim the 29-year-old could be used as a bargaining tool in an effort to bring Dimitar Berbatov, Karim Benzema or Roque Santa Cruz to United.

It’s news to Saha’s advisors, however, who told the Manchester Evening News their man will be reporting for pre-season training at Carrington, alongside his fellow United stars.

"There is nothing on the agenda until the club says otherwise,” one of Saha’s advisors said. “At the end of the season, the club told Louis to report back for pre-season training and he is now on holiday."

Saha is not involved in France’s Euro 2008 campaign.

Evra eyes France chance

Patrice Evra will be hoping for another chance to shine on the international stage when France kick off their Euro 2008 campaign against Romania on Monday.

Although the left-back has been in superb form for United over the last two seasons, he is still second in the pecking order for his national team behind Barcelona's Eric Abidal.

Evra has managed just 11 caps since making his debut in 2004, but he may be given the nod at the Letzigrund Stadion in Zurich as fellow defenders William Gallas and Lilian Thuram have been struggling with injury over the last few days.

Evra may have won the Champions League and Premier League with United last season, but he knows that doesn't guarantee him a place in Raymond Domenech's side.

"I'm not going to expect a place in the starting XI just because I'm a European champion," he said. "I've come here with more confidence and I'm going to show that.

"But I don't feel like an international. An international is someone who has had a great tournament."

Domenech's team are in the so-called 'group of death' in this year's European Championships, alongside world champions Italy, Holland and Romania.

But injury has hampered their preparations all week, with captain Patrick Vieira ruled out of the Romania clash and forwards Thierry Henry and Franck Ribery still doubtful.

Saha the bait for Red targets

Louis Saha could be a key figure for Sir Alex Ferguson as he sets about improving United's squad. Sadly for the French striker, it might not be on the field.
Instead, the 29-year-old Parisian is becoming the Reds' no.1 lure in possible deals presently being discussed at Old Trafford.
Saha started just nine matches all campaign as a series of knee, hamstring and calf problems cut him down.
A parting of the ways now seems inevitable, but the Reds' boss will be hoping possible future employers may bank on Saha having a better injury record away from Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, the Frenchman has been linked as a potential carrot in three possible striker deals [Dimitar Berbatov, Karim Benzema, Roque Santa Cruz].
Manchester Evening News

Friday, June 6, 2008

Let me to go to Real

Cristiano Ronaldo has rocked United by insisting: I want to join Real Madrid. The Portuguese winger dropped his bombshell on the eve of the European championships. He will be offered incredible wages of £75million after tax over five years and the Spaniards are also prepared to pay a £75m transfer fee. Ronaldo, 23, told respected 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 loss of Ronaldo would be a huge blow to United and defender Rio Ferdinand immediately pleaded with him to stay at Old Trafford. He said: “This team can get better but we need it to stay together.” Rio, in Nigeria promoting Education in Football, added: “We have worked hard to get to the position we are in and want to build on the success we have had. That means keeping all the players at the club."
Shaun Custis, The Sun

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Utd to Roq Rovers with Santa bid

United are planning to hit Blackburn with a £15million bid for towering striker Roque Santa Cruz. Boss Alex Ferguson has earmarked the Paraguay international as United’s main summer signing. Fergie sees Santa Cruz, 26, as the big man who Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney can feed off. The United boss has given up on Louis Saha playing that role after a succession of injuries. The club is looking to sell. Fergie has also had to give up on an audacious bid to land Barcelona top scorer Thierry Henry, who was persuaded he still has a major role to play at the Nou Camp. Rovers will be desperate to keep their main striker. But with manager Mark Hughes on the way to Manchester City they will struggle to hold their prize asset.
Neil Custis, The Sun

Ramsey fee agreed

United have agreed a fee with Cardiff City to bring talented teenager Aaron Ramsey to Old Trafford.

The 17-year-old left-sided midfielder has yet to agree personal terms and must also pass a medical before any deal can be completed.

A club spokesperson told "Manchester United is delighted to announce it has agreed terms with Cardiff City for the transfer of Aaron Ramsey subject to contract terms being agreed and the player passing a medical."

But the Reds aren't the only club in for the teenager. Cardiff have confirmed that
"three top Premier League teams" have made bids, with two given permission to speak to the Wales starlet.

Ramsey, who has attracted plenty of interest from the best clubs in England, is considered one of his country's brightest prospects in recent years and follows in an impressive line of left-sided Welsh players, including Gareth Bale and his idol Ryan Giggs.

He earned rave reviews following his performance in Cardiff's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Middlesbrough and played in their final defeat to Portsmouth at Wembley.

Monday, June 2, 2008

United set for Ronny decision

Cristiano Ronaldo will make his plans for the future clear in the next 48 hours. The United superstar spoke out after Portugal beat Georgia 2-0 in a friendly in Viseu on Saturday. Ronaldo, constantly linked with Real Madrid, said: “I will decide my future in two or three days.” United will be anxious that the player, getting set for Euro 2008, failed to repeat the promise he made after the Champions League final win over Chelsea to stay with them. Sir Alex Ferguson has threatened to let him rot on the bench if he demands a move to Spain. He revealed the Glazer family were ready to make Ronaldo a sub until he learned to respect the contract he signed only last year.
Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun