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.