Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has described Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s slavery remarks about Cristiano Ronaldo as ‘unfortunate’.
Blatter claimed clubs that refused to allow players to leave was tantamount to modern day slavery, after commenting on United’s insistence that Ronaldo honour his Old Trafford contract.
“I’m always in favour of protecting the player and if the player wants to leave, let him leave,” Blatter said earlier this month.
“I think in football there’s too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere.”
Ronaldo, who has expressed a desire to join Real Madrid, signed a fresh five-year contract with United in April 2007. The Portuguese winger said he agreed with the Fifa chief, although Blatter’s comments were widely derided at the time.
Ferguson, speaking ahead of Sunday’s 2-1 pre-season victory over Portsmouth in Nigeria, feels Blatter’s remarks were tactless.
“It was an unfortunate statement from someone in such a position,” said Ferguson.
“Slavery was abolished many years ago. These days footballers can earn five or six million pounds a year.
“I do not want to dignify this kind of statement with a response but when you consider the history of slavery, it was a very unfortunate statement.”
Ronaldo is not due back in action until October following a recent ankle operation but could return to United’s training HQ at Carrington at the end of next month to continue his recovery programme.