Now Quieroz goes on offensive
Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz has launched an extraordinary attack on the Spanish nation and Real Madrid in particular over what he believes are attempts to 'naturalise' Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese coach draws a bizarre comparison between the player and Christopher Columbus. Real Madrid have made no secret of their desire to recruit Ronaldo, prompting United to consider reporting them to FIFA. But Queiroz feels Madrid's outspoken courting of his Portuguese compatriot is about more than their wish to snap up the gifted winger, claiming it is part of the long history and rivalry between Portugal and Spain. 'Cristiano Ronaldo will never be Spanish! As they will never take Olivenca again,' he told Portuguese newspaper Jornal do Noticias, referring to the small town on the disputed border between the two countries. Queiroz also delved further into the historic rivalry, alluding to explorer Christopher Columbus - who both countries claim as theirs - and the 60-year Philippine Dynasty when Portugal was ruled by three Spanish kings until the bloodless revolution of 1640. 'They already did the same with Christopher Columbus, and it now seems they want to naturalise Cristiano Ronaldo,' added the United number two. 'Have they already forgotten what we did to them in the past? We will never lose our patience.' With Portugal preparing for Euro 2008, Queiroz knows the furore surrounding Ronaldo's future could not have come at a worse time. 'It's being done in a manner to distract the Portugal team, at the height of their preparations for the European Championships,' he said. 'But I am convinced that despite pressure from the Spanish sporting press he will not accept to change his nationality. 'However, it is an attack with a well-defined strategy and Portugal should be worried about that.'