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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

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By ESPN Staff
Jul 24, 2008

Calderon: Madrid don't need Ronaldo to win

Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon believes the Spanish champions will be a force to be reckoned with next season regardless of whether they sign Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Manchester United winger has been tracked by the Primera Liga champions all summer, with the player himself fuelling speculation by refusing to commit his future to the English club.

United coach Sir Alex Ferguson, who met Ronaldo for clear-the-air talks last week, is adamant there is no chance of the Portugal international quitting United for Spain.

But Calderon insists, even without the Portuguese, Real will go into the new campaign with a 'complete' squad.

'We can't talk about footballers who aren't ours,' he told Spanish television channel Atena 3.

'I've already said several times that we have a very complete squad, who have just won the Primera Liga.

'We built a great team last year. If we finally make some signings, they would be few but very good.'

The Real chief claimed the Spanish side are mere spectators in the transfer saga which has dominated the summer.

'We don't have anything to say about that issue,' he said. 'We are only spectators, a passive observer in this whole story.

'It is the player and the club who are talking about a possible problem, we are unconnected to all that.'

Calderon also poured scorn on suggestions unsettled Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o could return to Madrid.

Eto'o has been told he can leave the Nou Camp this summer, and although he is reportedly the subject of interest from Real, it would be a controversial move for the player who left the Bernabeu on a sour note in 2000.

And Calderon has laughed off suggestions that the striker could move back to Barca's bitter rivals.

'There is not an 'Eto'o case',' he added. 'I don't know where all this came from, because moreover Barcelona, as is logical, will not sell a player to Real Madrid.'

The few players who have moved between the arch rivals have felt the full wrath of their former fans on their return to their old home.

One of Barca's favourite sons, Luis Figo, caused such a stir when he moved to Madrid he was pelted with bottles, coins, bricks and even a pig's head on his return to the Nou Camp.

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