Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed that he will stay at Manchester United for another season.
In what will bring to an end the transfer saga of the summer, the Portuguese winger has finally indicated his desire to remain at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo, who has been courted by Real Madrid over the past few months, admitted he was tempted by the prospect of moving to Spain, but has opted to remain with United.
“I will remain with Manchester United for at least another year,” Ronaldo told Portuguese newspaper Publico.
Ronaldo went on to praise United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who visited the winger in Lisbon.
“My coach [Ferguson] was kind enough to come and see me in Lisbon a few days ago. It was a very honest conversation between two people that respect each other and that I’m sure share a mutual affection and friendship. Sir Alex listened to me, I listened to him and we established that the best for both sides would be for me to continue at Old Trafford.
“Therefore, I can confirm that, next season, I will play for Manchester United.
“I never wanted to leave against Manchester United’s will and I’m going to say something here that I’ve never told anybody: if we hadn’t been European champions I probably wouldn’t have even thought about going to Madrid,” he said.
“It’s no sacrifice for me, it’s a great honour. I have important things to win in England. I want to defend the European title and help United become world champions, not forgetting the Premier League and other competitions.”
“Before rumours emerge saying that I will play against my will, I want to make this clear – whoever says or writes that is lying.
“I will play for Manchester with all my heart and soul. I will fight and honour that shirt with the same commitment and dedication as always.”
Ronaldo also accepted full responsibility for speculation that has surrounded him in recent months.
“I was responsible for all this controversy,” he said.
“I was the one who publicly expressed my desire to go to Real Madrid. I ended up being, even involuntarily, responsible for the poor relationship between the two clubs.”
Ronaldo did reveal that he would like to play for Real at some stage in the future.
He explained: “I knew Real Madrid were interested in signing me and that they had allegedly made a very high offer to Manchester United.
“I knew that Real Madrid was interested in signing me and, yes, for a while I wanted Manchester to accept their offer. I wanted to play in Spain, at Real Madrid in particular, and I thought this could be the right moment. My family would welcome the change.
“The chance of being an hour’s flight from my mother was very attractive. But I now want this to end. I was the one that was responsible for all this controversy but it was never my intention to cause friction between these two clubs.”
“Saying otherwise would be to trick people and my own consciousness.”
In the wake of the news that Ronaldo will be staying, Ferguson was understandably in upbeat mood.
“It’s very positive and we welcome him back here this week,” the United boss told MUTV.
“He’s always been happy here. He’s always been treated properly. I have a great relationship with the boy and I think what we have to do is put this situation to bed.”