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Usher: Reds defence key at Basel

Liverpool about an hour ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 30, 2008

Calderon waiting on end to Ronaldo 'soap opera'

Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon admits he can do little more as the club wait for a conclusion to the 'soap opera' of Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo's future.

The Portugal winger has been tracked by Real all summer, although United are adamant they are not prepared to sell the man whose goals helped them to Premier League and Champions League glory last season.

Ronaldo has refused to confirm whether he believes his immediate future lies at Old Trafford or the Bernabeu, although he has yet to issue a firm committment to the Red Devils, and Calderon has once again claimed that his club are little more than spectators in the matter.

'Look, this is a problem that wasn't created by Real Madrid,' he told Spanish sports daily AS.

'Madrid are just spectators in this soap opera.

'At the moment Manchester United and the player are in an argument and Madrid are waiting...and we can't do any more for the time being.

'Obviously, it's clear that we want Cristiano with the quality that he has. But there is a contractual problem that United and the player have to resolve, not us.

'Will he persuade the club to let him go? I can't say that. That question's for the player, who has publicly said his dream is to play for Madrid.

'We hear those words with pride and satisfaction, but his departure doesn't only depend on Cristiano. United are the ones that have to sort it out and it will either happen or not.'

Ronaldo, who is recovering from ankle surgery, is yet to return to Manchester, but Calderon believes when he finally does it could be decisive for player and club.

'It could happen then, but it's true that we have to wait developments,' he continued. 'Everyone's thinking so much about this matter that people can get confused and I understand that they're fed up.

'They (United and Ronaldo) will talk next week and if after this conversation United decide to sell him, then of course Madrid will be there.'

Madrid have publicly courted Ronaldo all summer, to the Premier League side's fury.

United reported the Spanish giants to FIFA, but Calderon insists his club have nothing to feel guilty about.

'I would like to remind everyone that Madrid didn't generate this expectation but the player himself,' he added. 'The club has been respectful.

'(To want to sign him) is a natural and logical desire, equal to that of Chelsea wanting Robinho and (Iker) Casillas or United wanting Sergio Ramos. We didn't blow this all up. The club at which I'm president sleeps with a clear conscience.'

Madrid know a world-record fee would have to be paid to bring Ronaldo to the Bernabeu.

There was talk of selling Robinho to offset some of the cost, with Chelsea admitting they were interested in the Brazilian, or using him as part of swap deal for Ronaldo - an idea which infuriated the Madrid star.

Coach Bernd Schuster is adamant that Robinho will remain at the club next season, and Calderon claims there is no reason to offload him.

'The coaches believe they (Ronaldo and Robinho) are compatible and Madrid don't need to raise funds to buy,' he continued. 'To sign Cristiano we don't need to sell anyone and even less so Robinho. It's not like that at all.

'I don't have any reason to think that Robinho is unhappy. Schuster adores him, his team-mates want him and last year he was very happy at the Bernabeu.

'If he wasn't happy and wanted to leave we wouldn't fight to change his mind. But I don't think that's the case.

'It's absurd to plan someone's transfer if they're happy and I firmly believe that.'

If Ronaldo does go to the Primera Liga champions there has been talk of massive pay package, but the Real chief insists that is not one of the reasons the 23-year-old is so desperate for a move to the Bernabeu.

'Look, when a footballer leaves a big club it's not for the money,' said Calderon. 'They leave because they're not happy with what's around them, the sporting project, their family life, the coach and his decisions...

'In that case it's better to let them leave.

'I don't want a single player in my Madrid who's unhappy. But we have the good fortune that in this Madrid the 25 we have are happy.'

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