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Four-goal Faris dreams of AFC Cup final

By ESPN Staff

Ronaldo: I'm staying

Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed he will remain at Manchester United for another season.

The Portugal winger has been linked with Real Madrid throughout the summer, with the Spanish club maintaining their interest even though United repeatedly stressed Ronaldo would not be sold.

At one point United even reported Real to FIFA such was their annoyance with officials at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo has hinted at a wish to move but has never publicly confirmed his intentions.

However, in an interview to be published in Portugal on Thursday, while repeating his previously stated desire to play for Real, Ronaldo has also confirmed he will stay with United for another season at least.

'I will remain with Manchester United for at least another year,' Ronaldo told Portuguese newspaper Publico.

He goes on to praise Sir Alex Ferguson, who flew to Portugal just after Euro 2008 for talks with Ronaldo.

Ferguson returned in bullish mood, claiming he had a frank exchange with Ronaldo, who would be staying at United.

While his stance was viewed as posturing in a battle that would be waged until the transfer window finally closed on August 31, the feeling in Manchester has been growing that Ronaldo has agreed to remain.

That belief was reinforced by Real's surprise announcement yesterday that the arrival of Rafael van der Vaart from Hamburg would represent their only major purchase of the summer.

Now Ronaldo has given United fans the news they were all hoping for.

After scoring 42 goals last season as the Red Devils won the Premier League and Champions League double, Ronaldo is widely expected to be confirmed world footballer of the year in December.

His presence at Old Trafford is huge, even if he will be missing until the end of next month following ankle surgery.

Ferguson was always confident he would win the battle to keep Ronaldo but the news still represents a major coup for the Scot, who lost trusted assistant Carlos Queiroz, a close friend of the 23-year-old, to the Portugal national job last month.

Ronaldo said: 'Sir Alex Ferguson heard my arguments, I heard his and, in fact, it was settled that the best for both parties would be for me to stay.

'Therefore, I can confirm that, next season, I will play for Manchester United.

'Before rumours emerge saying that I will play against my will, I want to make this clear - whoever says or writes that is lying.

'I will play for Manchester with all my heart and soul. I will fight and honour that shirt with the same commitment and dedication as always.'

Ronaldo has also taken the blame for the transfer saga, which lasted for several months and damaged United's relationship with Real.

He continued: 'I was responsible for all this controversy.

'I was the one who publicly expressed my desire to go to Real Madrid. I ended up being, even involuntarily, responsible for the poor relationship between the two clubs.'

But he repeated that his dream of playing for Real remains and has not closed the door on a future move to the Spanish giants.

He explained: 'I knew Real Madrid were interested in signing me and that they had allegedly made a very high offer to Manchester United.

'My desire was, for some time, that Manchester had accepted my transfer to Madrid.

'Saying otherwise would be to trick people and my own consciousness.'


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