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By ESPN Staff

Gill: Glazers content to keep Ronaldo at OT

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has revealed the decision to keep Cristiano Ronaldo on board was taken with the full blessing of the Glazer family.

He said that a 'short, quick conversation' with the owners took place at the Champions League final in May when there were already rumours about Real Madrid's interest in the Portugal winger.

The Spanish club have continued to court the 23-year-old, who scored 42 goals last season, but United are adamant he is not for sale.

Gill said: 'We saw them (the owners) at the Champions League final and the speculation was already present then. It was a short, quick conversation.

'Under the PLC regime, we would not have had to sell him but we would have had to be more public.

'We would would have had to consult major shareholders a lot more. Ultimately it would have been a more public situation.

'As it is we have had one phone call, one chat in Moscow and the decision was made. Full stop.'

Ronaldo is only one year into a five-year deal and has repeatedly refused to commit himself to the club.

United, however, are relaxed about the situation after manager Sir Alex Ferguson met the player in Portugal.

Gill said: 'You cannot say what will definitely happen in a year's time. But by then he will still have three years left on his contract.

'Let's not worry too much about it. He is at the best club and Alex is very comfortable about it.

'We may give him another contract next summer, you never know. I have not, however, had detailed discussions with his advisors.'

After United reported Real Madrid to FIFA for their behaviour in regard to Ronaldo, they then found themselves - Ferguson in particular - in 'a tapping-up' row regarding Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Chairman Daniel Levy has called on the Premier League to investigate the matter and Gill said: 'We will look at it.

'Tottenham went public with their complaints and now we will see what the Premier League have to say and respond to it.

'If they feel that way (about the manager) then that's their perogative. They obviously feel strongly about it.'

Gill, meanwhile, insists there is no interference from the Glazers when it comes to making major signings.

'They have never said buy that player or do not buy that player', he explained.

'They have been very supportive of Alex and his team when they have identified a player they want.

'But they have never questioned his ability or decisions. They are very comfortable.'

After 22 years in charge Ferguson is preparing the squad for the new season in the Vodacom Challenge in South Africa - and the clock is ticking down on a remarkable career.

Gill is fully aware that when the Scot does retire he will be so difficult to replace.

He said: 'It will be a big change and without putting a deadline on it, time is getting closer.

'When I joined in 1997 he had been there 11 years and when I went to meetings it was the key question then.

'I think what we have to do is plan the team appropriately and make sure it has the right age etc so that anyone coming in there would be no need to rock the boat too much.

'It would be naive to think it wont be a big change but we are trying to put things in place that will make it as easy as we can.'

Gill also revealed Ferguson would play a key role in his successor's appointment.

'The owners and myself and people involved will obviously get his views.' he said.

'Somebody who has managed the club for so many years and who knows the club inside out and knows what is required would be invaluable. 'It would be remiss of us not to have a discussion with him and involve him and get his views. He will be a key part of the process.'


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