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Monday, July 21, 2008

Giggs eyes Pirates scalp

United winger Ryan Giggs admits winning isn’t everything during pre-season, although he’d love to put one over Orlando Pirates in Durban on Tuesday.

The Reds’ first match in the Vodacom Challenge, against Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town, ended 1-1 after Chris Eagles cancelled out Jonathan Quartey’s opener.

And although Sir Alex’s side are guaranteed a spot in the competition’s final even if they lose to Orlando Pirates, Giggs would much prefer to get there on merit.

“The results here in South Africa aren’t the be all and end all,” he told MUTV. “Generally, the idea is to get fit and come through the games with no injuries.

“But winning is still important. We didn’t win the tournament last time we were here in 2006 [so we’d like to make up for that]. Besides, you want to get into the habit of winning games as soon as possible.”

The 34-year-old is enjoying his time in South Africa, largely due to the supporters’ hospitality.

“South Africa’s great. The fans are brilliant, just like anywhere else in the world where United go. I’ve experienced it before so I know what to expect, but it’s still special to arrive at the airport at 8am and see fans waiting for you.

“They were dancing and singing and put on a real South African welcome [when we touched down in Cape Town on Friday].

“It’s definitely good to be here and we’ll have some more tough games to play – it will be a real test.”

Real 'would be bad for Ronny'

Sir Alex Ferguson was at his most candid yet on Monday afternoon when asked about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Reds boss firmly set out the facts that he is contracted to United for four more years, adding that a move to Real Madrid would be “the worst thing he could do”.

The 23-year-old winger, who is currently recovering after an ankle operation that will keep him for around three months, has been the subject of much speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid.

United have sternly stated throughout that Ronaldo will not be leaving, while Sir Alex described a meeting with the player in Portugal as “amicable” and also seemingly positive.

At a press conference in Durban on the club’s visit to South Africa, Sir Alex took time out to further reveals his views.

“The future is that he signed a five year contract with the team last year and he has four years left. That’s definite, I’ve seen his signature,” he said.

“After the Champions League final Ronaldo was the happiest boy in the world. I think he knows where the best club is to be, and that is Manchester United.

“I honestly believe that going to Real Madrid would be the worst thing he could do. He’s 23 years old and is at a fantastic club.”

Michael Carrick was far from pleading with his team-mate, but there is no doubt as to the strength of the dressing room spirit.

“I can only speak for myself,” he said. “But for me this is the best place in the world to be. Joining the club was the best decision I ever made.”

Pele's Rooney advice

Wayne Rooney must go on the defensive to rediscover his world-class form, says Brazil legend Pele. Rooney was substituted by boss Alex Ferguson after a couple of clashes with Chiefs full-back Jimmy Tau when he appeared to lash out. And superstar Pele said: “I like Wayne Rooney but he hasn’t reached the peak of Euro 2004 again. He had two or three very good years and then lost a little bit in his performances. When he is tangling with opponents, Rooney has to learn how to defend himself, not attack the opponent. If you can protect yourself against challenges, it will be easier to keep your temper. It should be possible because referees help strikers now."
Janine Self, The Sun