Cristiano Ronaldo will be urged by his advisers not put in a transfer request at Manchester United.
Though the player is seeking an increase on his £120,000-a-week salary, his agent Jorge Mendes does not want him to "force the issue" and, despite the impression Ronaldo continued to provide yesterday of a man keen to leave Old Trafford, Mendes is only too aware that encouraging Ronaldo's departure will damage his relationship with the European champions at a time when he has two players, Anderson and Nani, in situ there and may wish to come knocking with more. Arguably the most influential agent in the game cannot afford to be left with limited influence within Europe's top club.
The views of the player's advisers do not necessarily rule out a transfer demand, though. If no extra money is forthcoming – United say there will be none – and the events of this summer leave the player's relationship with his club manager irreparably damaged, he may demand to leave anyway.
Ronaldo's first appearance at a European Championship press conference elicited his usual reluctance to enthuse about United yesterday. The player's refusal to discuss the merits of Manchester and Madrid included a deft body swerve around the question of his favourite seafood dish – fish and chips or paella? "Bacalhau," the 23-year-old replied. That is a salted cod dish favoured in Portugal. Neat work, though Ronaldo's customary flirtations with the Spanish press - with whom he joked in Neuchâtel, spoke volumes.
The Portuguese squad are not without their distractions in Switzerland as Deco is close to agreeing terms with Chelsea to complete a £10m move from Barcelona, and join his current national coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, at Stamford Bridge.
Gloomy though the picture appears to be for United, some sources in Portugal also believe that Mendes actually considers it to be in Ronaldo's own interest to stay at United, though his influence will be tested if the club do not deliver the pay increase Ronaldo is understood to be seeking.
There is a feeling at Old Trafford that a full understanding of the situation will not become clear until United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and his assistant, Carlos Queiroz, have spoken to the player. Despite suggestions that Real might be preparing a £60m bid and be ready to send their sporting director, Predrag Mijatovic, to Manchester, United maintain that they will listen to no offer.
Ronaldo is understood to be planning three weeks' holiday after the Euros and it remains to be seen whether a game of brinkmanship follows that.
There are now veiled threats from Portugal that he might be willing to withdraw his goodwill if a transfer is refused him and, if that proves to be the case, United may be forced to accept that they are best off taking Real's offer and reinvesting it.Reuse content