Ronaldo: 'I am a slave'

In an utterance as remarkable as any he has issued this summer, Cristiano Ronaldo declared last night that he agreed with the Fifa president Sepp Blatter's assertion that Manchester United should stop treating him like a "modern-day slave" and release him to Real Madrid.

"I agree with the statements of the president, he is right," Ronaldo said and, pressed on where he would spend next season, he reiterated the point. "You know what I said, what I want and what I would like. Let's see. I agree completely with the president of Fifa. Now I have to wait and see, but I do not know where I will begin the season."

Coming from a 23-year-old who is paid £120,000 a week by a club considering allowing him to complete his recuperation from ankle surgery in the Algarve and delay his return to Manchester, Ronaldo's assertion will prompt as much indignation in football as Blatter did when he said yesterday that players, tied to longer contracts since the Bosman ruling, were enslaved and should be given greater freedom to move on.

The metaphor Blatter chose was even more unfortunate than his line of argument which, taken to its logical conclusion would allow for no transfer market and let any player leave for the highest bidder at the drop of a hat, with all the consequences that would have for the sport's poorer clubs. But Ronaldo was unmoved. He agrees he should be allowed to join Real, though he suggested while leaving his rehabilitation clinic in the Algarve that he does not expect to be playing for anyone for 10 or 12 weeks, following his operation. That prognosis is far worse than expected at United, who had hoped he might be fit within six weeks.

Contrary to some reports, the Portuguese also said he had not agreed personal terms with Real. "It is not true that I have an agreement with Real Madrid, there is no agreement," said Ronaldo, who announced himself to be "completely optimistic and calm". That reinforces the idea, expounded by the club's president, Ramon Calderon, at the weekend, that Ronaldo will be a United player next season.

There was little sense in Ronaldo's brief utterance that he had taken much stock of Blatter's comments, but agreeing to his suggestion that he is enslaved will leave him liable to a colourful response from opposing supporters if he extends his United career.

United led a chorus of opposition yesterday to comments which appear to rank alongside Blatter's legendary assertion that women footballers should wear "tighter shorts" to make the game easier on the eye. "All our players, like at other clubs, enter into their contracts after an open and free negotiation," the Old Trafford side said. "Most do so after taking advice from a Fifa-registered agent. Many do so on a number of occasions and enjoy long and successful stays at Old Trafford."

Arsenal, struggling to keep Emmanuel Adebayor, and Chelsea, whose £130,000-a-week offer to Frank Lampard has been rejected, may empathise, though some would argue that the treatment of Lampard has been less than exemplary. In the pre-Bosman era, when clubs could hold a player's registration and refuse to release it even if that individual's contract had come to an end, footballers could have claimed to be in clubs' thrall.

But the idea that a player such as Ronaldo may, one year into a five-year contract, declare on a whim that he wishes to fulfil a "dream" of playing in Spain, banishes any notion of contractual arrangements.

Even the Professional Footballers' Association were astonished. Deputy chief executive Mick McGuire, said: "It is so inappropriate that [Blatter] loses any credibility in the argument. There are some words that should never be used in such a context. The word 'slavery' gets people wound up and destroys any argument he has."

Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers' Association, said Blatter was way out of touch. "The transfer system is underwritten and regulated by Fifa. It is the cornerstone of developing talent right up the football pyramid," he said.

Some players provide evidence of Blatter's view. It could be argued that Aston Villa's Gareth Barry, for all the criticism he has received for questioning his manager Martin O'Neill's reluctance to discuss his move to Liverpool, has been poorly treated.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform