Hughes backs Ferguson over Ronaldo transfer

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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes is adamant Sir Alex Ferguson is only letting Cristiano Ronaldo leave Manchester United because he believes it is in the best interests of the Old Trafford club.

United confirmed this morning they have accepted a world-record £80million bid for the FIFA World Player of the Year from Real Madrid, with a deal likely to be concluded by June 30.

The news is bound to be greeted with some scepticism given Ferguson's previous statements on the matter, including a famous declaration that he "would not sell that mob a virus" when speculation of a deal with Real being done arose last December.

Mixed with that will be an anxiety about where United go from here, knowing Carlos Tevez is also likely to leave this summer.

But Hughes feels certain Ferguson has only made his decision because he believes the Red Devils will emerge as a stronger force.

"There seems to have been a lot of speculation about Ronaldo's future for a number of seasons, to the extent it has started to become predictable," said Hughes.

"Obviously Manchester United feel it is good business for them.

"Sir Alex Ferguson makes key decisions very quickly and I suspect he will have been very much involved in what has happened.

"He has made what he thinks is the right decision for the club and we have to respect that."

Hughes has been interested to see the positive light in which Real's approach for Ronaldo and their world-record £56million purchase of Kaka has been viewed.

The reaction compares sharply to the adverse publicity City received for their own, unsuccessful, approach for Kaka last January.

"It is a significant amount of money and I am sure Real Madrid will be very pleased with the business they have been able to do," said Hughes.

"Obviously we pursued one of the players involved and the reaction that approach was viewed in was somewhat different."

Hughes certainly does not believe Real's vast spending will have a negative impact on the transfer market, given his old club now have vast spending power, with an expectancy a replacement for Ronaldo will be brought in quickly.

"If anything, it will stimulate the market," he said.

"There is a lot of money out there now, with some big clubs eager to spend it. It should make for an interesting market now."