Custom Search

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