Calderon reignites Ronaldo rumours after 'agreeing deal'

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The Independent Online

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon claims he helped agree a deal to sign an unnamed leading world player before he left office.

Calderon, who resigned in January over allegations of vote-rigging, could yet stand for re-election in the summer's presidential shake-up.



But in the meantime, the former Santiago Bernabeu chief claims to have been behind the successful acquisition of a mystery player, whose identity will become known at the end of the season.



Last summer, Real were involved in a high-profile pursuit of Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo which ultimately ended in failure.



"I can't give any names," said Calderon. "What I can say is that one of the best players in the world, thanks to Ramon Calderon and difficult and laborious negotiations that having been going on since last year, is already formally a Real Madrid player.



"Subject obviously to him being able to sign the relevant contract."



Calderon's comments are only likely to reignite rumours that Ronaldo is destined to leave United for Madrid.

Meanwhile, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has dismissed reports that Bayern Munich duo Franck Ribery or Philipp Lahm will be on their way to the Camp Nou in the summer.



Barca dumped Bayern out of the Champions League after winning their quarter-final showdown 5-1 on aggregate on Tuesday night.



But after the 1-1 second-leg stalemate at the Allianz Arena, Laporta reassured Bayern officials that his club were not planning to plunder their prize assets at the end of the season.



"I want to put an end to all these rumours by saying no," he claimed.



"For me, it is more important to have a good relationship with Bayern than any player in the world.



"Ribery is to Munich what (Lionel) Messi is to Barcelona. Therefore I understand if Kalle (Karl-Heinz Rummenigge) says that Ribery is not for sale.



"The fans of Bayern would never understand it and that is something I accept."



Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini admitted his side had been second-best in Wednesday's Champions League clash with Arsenal.



The Yellow Submarine slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium to lose the quarter-final tie 4-1 on aggregate and had Uruguayan midfielder Sebastien Eguren sent off.



Pellegrini said after the defeat: "They were by far the superior team, and we were overcome in the stadium.



"The first half was finely balanced and it was a close contest until it went to 2-0, and then they began to take advantage of the spaces on the pitch.



"The team tried its best, and it must be remembered the injuries we have, while they have recovered all of their players. We must now return our focus to the league.”

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