David Beckham has stepped into the controversy surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo's future by urging him to stay at Old Trafford and develop his game.
"I believe he's at the right club and a club he should stay at because as much as Real Madrid are a great team and one of the biggest clubs in the world, he's only just starting at Man United," said Beckham, after Ronaldo contributed to the intrigue by telling Portuguese journalists on Sunday that he would reveal a decision about his future "in two to three days".
As Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out 11 days ago, Beckham's departure from Old Trafford for the Bernabeu came when United were good and ready, but Ferguson is infuriated by what he perceives as Real's campaign – waged through the Spanish paper Marca – to turn the player's head.
In an interview with Marca, the Real president, Ramon Calderon, declared himself confused by the ambivalent messages about United coming from Ronaldo, who yesterday limped out of training with Portugal's Euro 2008 squad with his ankle encased in ice.
"We don't know if he is not saying anything because it is going to be something different or because he has a contract," Calderon said. "If he says something different, Manchester will have to announce it and if they want to negotiate with Madrid or another club, then they will. But they have said that they will not sell."
Calderon revealed that the United chief executive, David Gill, had written to him asking "me to state publicly that I will never sign Ronaldo". That, Calderon said, "does not make a lot of sense." But Calderon seems to accept that he will not secure Ronaldo's services.
"You have to think right now that whatever Cristiano says they [United] will not sell," he said. "If somebody wants to leave, it is very difficult to hold on to them. We don't know if Cristiano wants to go or not so it seems that we are getting ahead of ourselves."
He also reiterated that his club have the financial muscle to prise Ronaldo away. "Here, £47m was paid six years ago for a 29-year-old player [Zinedine Zidane] and nobody questioned it," he said. "This club want the money to be on the pitch and not in the bank."Reuse content