Real deny underhand tactics in pursuit of Ronaldo

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid have defended themselves against accusations from the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, that they were using underhand tactics to pressure the Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo into joining them.

"I am really surprised to hear what he said about us. I don't understand Ferguson," Real's president, Ramon Calderon, told Marca – a traditional mouthpiece for the club – yesterday. "Real Madrid have conducted themselves exquisitely in this whole affair with Cristiano Ronaldo. We have always said that he is a player who has a contract and that Manchester United is not a selling club. That's everything."

Ferguson attacked the Spanish champions on Friday, criticising their tactics in trying to lure the 23-year-old to Spain by using Marca.

"Do you not think we've not had interest from big clubs around Europe about our best players?" Sir Alex said. "Of course we have. But they don't get into the nonsense [Real] get into. They think they can ride roughshod over everyone, but they won't do it with us."

Ronaldo added to the speculation with ambiguous statements after Wednesday's victory in the European Cup final. The Madrid-based sports papers have had the player on their front pages the last few days. Yesterday, Marca reported that, given the chance, Real would open their bidding with an offer of €80m (£64m), for a five-year contract that would net the player £7.5m per season with the Brazil forward Robinho to move in the other direction.

Ronaldo said he will make up his mind in due course. "What the press speculate about goes over my head," he said. "I am calm. Everything's clear and I will repeat it once again so that the whole world understands: there will be news in two or three weeks."