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Marshall: Mexico fail to impress

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By ESPN Staff

Fergie extols the virtues of OT to Ronaldo

MANCHESTER, England, Feb 9 (Reuters) - In-form Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo is playing his football at the best place possible, manager Alex Ferguson said on Friday.

Media speculation continues to link the Portugal international with a return to Europe with Real Madrid and Barcelona being widely tipped to launch bids for the 22-year-old.

Ferguson remains unconcerned at what he regards as just newspaper talk and is convinced Ronaldo, who has netted 15 league goals this season, could do no better than continue his career at Old Trafford.

'It's always an attraction, a better climate. But when you think about what you can get at Manchester United - every week 76,000 people,' Ferguson told a news conference.

'You are not going to get that anywhere. I know that the Spanish giants of Madrid and Barcelona, and also Milan, when they have got big games they can fill the place without question. But they don't fill it every week.

'Old Trafford is full every week, which is fantastic. He's at a good club and he knows he's at a good football club.'

Ronaldo has played a huge role in helping United gain a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

United, at home to relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic on Saturday, reinforced their advantage over Chelsea with an emphatic 4-0 win at Tottenham last Sunday and Ferguson wants no dropping of standards as his side chase a first title for four years.

'I think keeping our feet on the ground is important,' he said. 'I think the realisation that every game is important between now and the end of the season must register with us, no matter who we are playing.

'Most people expect us to beat Charlton tomorrow. Fine, that's what Manchester United are about in that way.

'Fans are dreaming sometimes about what can be achieved in a couple of month's time but we have to be professional enough to know that they are difficult games also and we have to approach them in that vein.

'If we keep our feet on the ground and keep playing the way we are playing I think we have a good chance.'

Ronaldo is a slight doubt after missing training on Friday with a cold and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (broken nose) and John O'Shea (neck) are definitely out.

However, striker Wayne Rooney is available after regaining full fitness following a hip injury which kept him out of England's midweek defeat by Spain.