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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 16, 2008

Sneijder cool on Ronaldo, keen on Van der Vaart

Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder claims his Holland team-mate Rafael van der Vaart is desperate to join the Primera Liga champions. However, Sneijder was less positive about one of Madrid's other transfer targets - Cristiano Ronaldo.

Van der Vaart, who is under contract with Hamburg until 2010, again dismissed reports of a move to the Bernabeu as 'speculation' on Tuesday, but admitted he could leave if an offer came from a top-class side.

Sneijder is good friends with the 25-year-old, having played side by side in midfield for four years when the pair were at Ajax as well as in the national team.

And he believes Van der Vaart is keen to link up again with him in Madrid.

'I've talked to him several times in the last few days,' Sneijder told Spanish sports daily AS. 'He told me he wants to play for Real Madrid, but he still doesn't know if it will be possible to do so this season.

'He told me that he wants to come to Madrid and that he is very excited about achieving this aim.

'Rafael is a great footballer, He seems very good to me. I played with him for four seasons at Ajax and we have played quite a few matches together with the Holland team and we have always been together in the centre of the pitch.

'However, I don't know if he will come this year or the next.

'I would definitely sign him for Madrid. He has a very good head, as much on as off the pitch. Moreover he has a great advantage and that is he goes a lot into the opposing area and each season scores a lot of goals.'

On the subject of Ronaldo, while 24-year-old Sneijder still insists, as he did a month ago, that the Manchester United ace would be a great addition to the Madrid side, he believes the Spanish champions should be cautious not to upset the players already at the Bernabeu.

'I don't want to say much (about Ronaldo) because every day different news emerges,' added Sneijder. 'Cristiano is a great player, he has a lot of quality and if he comes to Madrid he would be welcomed by everyone.

'But at the moment no-one can say anything about him because talking well about him also shows a slight lack of respect to the players that are here and this Real Madrid has a lot of people of quality.'

Madrid are reportedly ready to pay United and Ronaldo a hefty sum in order to secure the services of the Portugal star.

But Sneijder admits there could be problems in the dressing room if Ronaldo earns a much higher salary than the rest of the club's players.

'It's true that could happen,' he continued. 'It would be bad for the dressing room if he gets a much higher salary than the rest of the squad.

'It's not important to me, but I know that other team-mates would not like that at all. Here we have footballers like him, for example (Arjen) Robben or Robinho.

'It's obvious that I want to play with Cristiano, but you also have to maintain the equilibrium in the dressing room.'

While claiming he would love to link up with Ronaldo, Sneijder believes Madrid do not need the winger, insisting they already have a player who is more than his match - Robinho.

'For me, this Madrid side do not need new signings,' said Sneijder. 'In the last few matches last year we were very solid and the team has grown a lot.

'This squad is strong enough and this season we are going to do more.

'It's also obvious that if you bring in a player of a lot of quality it can be better for the team. In that case the only one thing I think we need is to sign a striker.'

Robinho has been linked with a move to Chelsea after his agent revealed he was an admirer of their new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, but Sneijder hopes the Brazil international stays put.

'I hope Robinho stays at Madrid because I think he is equal to Cristiano Ronaldo,' said the Dutchman.

'People have criticised Robinho because he hasn't performed in the big matches, but I saw important matches for Manchester United and Cristiano didn't perform either.

'It's not a criticism. I just want to point out that a player can't be at the same level all season.'

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