Manchester United have threatened to report Real Madrid to Fifa over their continued pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo.
United’s anger with the Spanish club came after Madrid coach, Bernd Schuster, suggested a world record transfer of the Portugal international plus a deal for Arsenal’s Alexander Hleb were virtually complete.
A United statement read: “Manchester United has watched with growing irritation the comments attributed to Real Madrid over their alleged desire to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. The facts are: 1) The player is on a long-term contract and his registration is held by Manchester United; 2) The player is not for sale.
“The club will have no alternative but to report Real Madrid to the world governing body, Fifa, if it continues to behave in this totally unacceptable fashion. These public attempts to unsettle the player are completely against the regulations and the club will not tolerate them any longer. In addition, the club is certain that they are a distraction for the Portuguese national squad as they prepare for the European Championship. No one should be in any doubt that Manchester United will do everything in its power to keep its best players.”
United’s statement came after Madrid coach Bernd Schuster claimed the 23-year-old Portuguese winger was the club’s number one summer transfer target.
“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,” said Schuster.
“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.
“In this Madrid side, the kid wouldn’t create any problems. For the fans this signing would be an amazing explosion similar to what happened here when [David] Beckham arrived. This isn’t England, and that change will affect him. We have to be clever about this and sort this problem out for the kid.
“Cristiano would help us in a lot of ways, without a doubt, but we can’t stop with just him. He’ll be expensive and we’ll have to pay a lot of money, but we need more players because he won’t be enough. For a few months now we have had a plan and we know what we want, but now Alexander Hleb has been added to that plan. We didn’t know he would be able to leave Arsenal, but now it seems he will.”
Despite Schuster’s comments, Real president Ramon Calderon insisted his club were not trying to unsettle the player.
Calderon said: “We haven’t done, nor will we do anything against the wishes of a club that we consider a friend like Manchester United,” Calderon said on the club’s official website.
“Our relationship with Manchester is magnificent and we will not do anything that would violate the will of a team, just as we would not like that done to us.
“We know Manchester doesn’t want to sell and we have nothing to say. It’s a problem between the player and his team.”