Ferguson began Ronaldo talks nine months ago

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The Independent Football

Manchester United unveiled their new signings, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kleberson, at Old Trafford yesterday morning with the club's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, revealing that he had been tracking both players for some time.

"I am delighted," Sir Alex said. "In both cases it has been going on for not just a matter of weeks - it has been going for some considerable time. I had the framework of negotiations with Sporting Lisbon about nine months ago but there was a change when young Ronaldo showed an eagerness to join us immediately. He may have stayed at Lisbon for another year.

"We had to have conversations with Sporting Lisbon when he said that. The club were fantastic in those negotiations and we tried to get him here as quickly as possible."

Asked about the future at United, Ferguson said: "We have always tried to take a step forward. We have always tried to measure ourselves in terms of competition and where we want to go. European football is very important to us. We have done well but we have been a detail short and we want to win. That's why signings like this do encourage me."

Asked why Cristiano Ronaldo had been given David Beckham's jersey, he said: "Ronaldo is young. Some famous players at this club have had the jersey - Cantona, Robson, Beckham - in my time here. It was appropriate a young player like Ronaldo should take it."

One mystery that was solved yesterday was the youngster's name. "We decided to choose one name each and his mother picked Cristiano," his father, Jose Dinis Pereira, said. "I chose Ronaldo because at the time the USA's president was Ronald Reagan."

The teenager's admission that Thierry Henry is one of his heroes did not spark a wholly positive response from his new manager, but he left no one in any doubt that he would rather be at Old Trafford than Highbury, or any of the other European clubs who courted him.

"In my consideration, Manchester United are the greatest club in the world and for that reason I picked them," he said. "I feel it's a great joy, but it's also a great responsibility. I hope to answer everything that's asked of me and I hope that everybody is proud of me."

Kleberson added: "It's a privilege to be at a club as great as this. I am going to try and emulate the players who have already been here and to win the titles they have already won."

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