Charlton baulks at Ronaldo's fee

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The Independent Football

Sir Bobby Charlton, the Manchester United director, has described Real Madrid's prospective £80m transfer payment for Cristiano Ronaldo as "vulgar" and admitted the player's departure had prompted some "soul-searching" at Old Trafford.

"Ronaldo leaves us because as a young boy he always dreamt about playing for Real Madrid," said Charlton, speaking in China where United signed a multi-million pound partnership deal with Chinese digital technology firm Aigo. "It is an enormous amount of money and it sometimes [seems] a little bit vulgar. But that is business, I am afraid. It's a lot of money. It seems crazy really... It is a little bit of soul-searching, you wonder if you made the right decision. We shall never know until the season starts."

The Lyons chairman, Jean-Michel Aulas, admits it will be difficult to hold on to possible United target, Karim Benzema. "Karim has said that he wants to stay another year with Lyons," Aulas said. "But I think that Kaka or Ronaldo maybe expected to remain with their former club."