Mixed reaction in Spain after Ronaldo transfer

Cristiano Ronaldo's seemingly imminent record-breaking move to Real Madrid has been greeted with mixed reactions in the Spanish press.

Although there is plenty of praise for new Madrid president Florentino Perez's success in persuading Manchester United to part with the Portugal international, the astronomical transfer fee has caused some division.

Providing Madrid can agree personal terms with Ronaldo and there are no complications regarding the FIFA World Player of the Year's medical, then the 24-year-old will move to the Bernabeu in a world-record £80m switch.

That would dwarf the fee Madrid splashed out on Zinedine Zidane in 2001 and comes just days after the Spanish giants secured the services of Kaka for £56m.

Marca, Spain's biggest-selling newspaper, hailed the news as "The signing of the century" on their front cover and "A signing from another galaxy" on page two, in reference to the 'galacticos' policy that Perez presided over during his previous stint in the Madrid hotseat from 2000-06.

That policy saw Perez splash out huge fees on the likes of Luis Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham, and the returning president has wasted no time in bringing those days back.

Marca also report there will be more money splashed around by Madrid in the near future, announcing above a picture of Ronaldo on their front page: "And next week the signing of (David) Villa will be announced!!!"

AS, who like their fellow Madrid-based sports daily Marca used a two-page front cover with a picture of Ronaldo wearing the all-white kit, acknowledged that the transfer fee was likely to cause plenty of debate.

"Praise is mixed with criticism for the price, a new world record - 94million euros for the number one," read their front cover.

AS also claim Ronaldo will wear the number nine shirt at Madrid and has already registered the trademark 'CR9', while both Marca and AS report that the winger will sign a six-year contract and earn a salary of around nine million euros (£7.7m) per year.

El Mundo newspaper focused more on Ronaldo's huge price tag as they reported the news.

"Madrid pay for Ronaldo 57 times his weight in gold," read their headline next to a photograph of Ronaldo kissing the Golden Boot he won in 2007-08.

"Florentino Perez pays 94 million for him, a week after paying another 65 for Kaka. The sum of the two transactions is the equivalent of the combined annual budget of the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum and National Library."

El Pais followed a similar vein in an article on their website, saying: "Florentino Perez lives in another galaxy.

"In full global crisis, Madrid will pay 94million for Cristiano Ronaldo - a price that exceeds the budget of 16 of the Primera Division teams."

Barcelona-based sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo's front page headline, meanwhile, pulled no punches about what it thought of the transfer fee.

"CR94. Madness!" it read, before adding: "Florentino exceeds all the limits to pay 94million for Cristiano. The football world is in shock and even (UEFA president Michel) Platini criticises it."

Back in Portugal, news of the potential move has been met with similar scorn, with sports newspaper Record stunned by Real Madrid's ability to defy the global economic crisis.

It read: "Real Madrid spend 94 million euros for Ronaldo in times of crisis.

"He will earn more in 24 hours than our president of the Republic in two months."

The Italian press were equally miffed.

With AC Milan having sold Kaka to the Spanish giants for £59million less than 72 hours before United confirmed they had accepted the world-record bid for Ronaldo, Gazzetta dello Sport responded: "That's not fair. Mad Real. After Kaka, Real Madrid sign Cristiano Ronaldo."

French daily L'Equipe believes the transfer could provide United with the funds to make a bid for Lyon forward Karim Benzema.

It delivered the news with the headline: "Ronaldo breaks the bank."

Inside, it read: "Benzema's turn?", with sub-headline: "In case of the departure of Carlos Tevez, the Lyon striker could become the main target of Manchester United, who have a lot of money to spend."

The article continued: "Ferguson has already asked that (Lyon president) Jean-Michel Aulas inform him as a matter of priority the day Benzema is for sale."

America's Los Angeles Times was more worried about the impact on the Manchester hair-gel industry than the effect the transfer has had on world football.

Their headline read: "Real Madrid's 131million bid to talk to Cristiano Ronaldo is a hair-raiser".

It continued: "The hair-gel industry in north-west England suffered a catastrophic blow Thursday in a world-record sports transaction after which the soccer marvel Cristiano Ronaldo seemed Spain-bound."

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