Cristiano Ronaldo's club team-mates attempted to remind him what he would be missing by leaving Manchester yesterday as the player issued yet another declaration of uncertainty after his command performance for Portugal against Turkey.
"Only Cristiano can answer the question why he would want to leave Manchester United," Rio Ferdinand said on Radio Five Live's "Sportsweek" programme yesterday morning. "But all the players have been signing up in recent months, such as myself, Wes Brown, Michael Carrick and I think Patrice Evra has agreed a new contract. Only Cristiano can decide on this, but I would like to think that he will stay."
The United captain, Gary Neville, echoed Ferdinand's thoughts and United – who have no intention of offering him an improved contract – can only hope he hears the two senior players. "Cristiano knows he's at the right club. The adulation he receives and everything he would want is there," Neville said. "The manager has made his position clear, so I don't see a problem. These things always happen when players are away on international duty."
Yet again, yesterday, the Real Madrid mouthpiece Marca quoted the Portuguese expressing mixed feelings for United. "I still don't know where I will play, I have not decided yet. I will talk after the European Championships," he said. "I have convinced myself that I cannot worry about this, so I am calm."
The Portugal coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, did not seem to think the uncertainty was affecting the 23-year-old winger when he handed him the captaincy after Nuno Gomes was replaced by another Manchester United winger Nani midway through the second half, with the coach reasoning: "I gave Cristiano the captaincy to give him strength and motivation."