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Arsenal about an hour ago
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Oct 24, 2008

Calderon's hollow words

So that's it, we can all put our pens down and relax because it's official, Real Madrid no longer have an interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo unless he's put up for sale by Manchester United.

Real president Ramon Calderon has insisted "it is forgotten, not only for January but forever", so that's it over and done with.

Except, we all know how Real work in their relentless, unprofessional and embarrassing pursuit of the game's top players.

Time and time again Real will say, from the boardroom, that they have no interest in a player only to sign them after a long running, and very public, backdoor pursuit. David Beckham, Robinho, the Brazilian Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy have all ended up at the Bernabeu after such circumstances.

Everyone knows the Portuguese winger will eventually arrive at Real Madrid, although it may take time until United consider, like Van Nistelrooy, that the player has reached the end of his natural lifespan at Old Trafford.

Real's tactic is rarely for a figure such as Calderon to come out and openly state a desire, or a clear intention, to sign a certain player. In fact, last summer Calderon repeatedly said it would be ''impossible'' to sign Ronaldo, though few think he actually believed this.

It's usually done in the shadows with a plethora of the club's star players saying how much they would love to play alongside Ronaldo. Then there are the radio stations in Madrid, which are used as a mouthpiece for rumour and gossip which suggest bids have been made, accepted, or agreements reached.

Last summer it appeared there was a story a day to keep up the pressure. Manchester United complained to FIFA about their conduct in trying to tempt Ronaldo to La Liga but, predictably, world football's governing body did absolutely nothing.

Make no mistake, the closer we get to January the more remarks we'll hear from any figure related to Real. It's unlikely they will get him in January, but as soon as the sun comes out at the end of the current season it's going to be time to batten down the hatches and prepare for a long, hard and monotonous summer care of Mr Calderon.

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