Cristiano Ronaldo has reiterated that he sees his future at Manchester United, despite the continued overtures from Real Madrid, and has rejected last month's claims from the Real director Pedro Trapote that a deal had already been done as "lies".
Renewed talk of a move to the Bernabeu surfaced when reports suggested that Trapote was overheard boasting that an agreement was in place between the clubs. That was swiftly denied by the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, but Ronaldo's attempts to engineer a move to Spain last summer mean that the spectre of Real's interest will never disappear completely.
United plan to offer Ronaldo, whose current contract expires in 2012, a new deal in the summer and the winger's latest comments make an extension look like a formality.
"What people are saying now [about a deal being struck with Real] is not true," Ronaldo said. "Whoever says that is a liar because I am happy at the club and I want to stay here. I feel at home here and I feel very happy here.
"There's always speculation, not just about me, but about the future of players all around the world. People were speaking about me last summer but that was normal because of what I did during the season."
Ronaldo's behaviour in the summer means that, despite scoring 42 goals on the way to United's Premier League and Champions League double last season, he continues to divide opinion among the club's fans.
After he missed the start of the season because of injury, Ronaldo's form has been patchy since his return and he has not scored in six league games since the 5-0 victory over Stoke in mid-November.
Although there is no doubt that he no longer enjoys the deep affection of many United supporters, Ronaldo maintains that they still hold him in high regard. He said: "I think the people don't forget quickly what you do for the club. When I arrived to play [my first game of this season] against Villarreal, I felt a little bit of pressure, but the fans were very good and this is why I feel the Manchester United supporters are amazing. Like I said before, I feel at home in Manchester.
"The boss is always important for me, not just last season, but every season. I am at this club because of him. He has always helped me and I said to him, 'I want to be part of this club with you. I want to win trophies with you'. He is very important in my career."
Despite last year's achievements and the fact that he has managed a relatively paltry nine goals in this campaign, Ronaldo maintains that his appetite for success remains undiminished, even though he has already grown used to winning trophies regularly.
"Age is not important in football, in my opinion. Experience yes, but you gain experience if you play and I have played many games at Manchester United with great players and I've won many things.
"This is why I think age is not important. The most difficult challenge now is to keep the same level as last year's. This is what I'm trying to do. I feel prepared for that. My ambition is still the same, my character is still the same and I know what I can do."Reuse content