Schuster respects Ronaldo decision

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The Independent Online

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster believes it is a "shame" that Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has decided to stay in England, but has urged his club to put the matter behind them and focus on the squad already in place.

The Spanish champions have been involved in a persistent and very public pursuit of Ronaldo all summer.

At one point United even reported Real to Fifa, such was their annoyance with officials at the Bernabeu.

However, the affair came to an end on Wednesday with Ronaldo announcing he is set to stay with the Premier League and European Champions for one more season at least.

"You have to respect his decision," admitted Schuster.

"He was free to do what he wanted and it's a shame that he isn't coming to us because he's a player who would really have improved this great group.

"But hey, it doesn't matter. We've got a great group to get started on an important league campaign and fight for all the objectives we've set.

"It's a decision we have to accept."

Last week the German coach had bemoaned the fact that his club had spent the summer chasing Ronaldo at the expense of seeking out other signings.

On Monday Madrid made their first, and according to Real president Ramon Calderon "possibly last", signing of the summer with the arrival of Rafael van der Vaart.

Now Schuster admits the club will have to do the best they can with the players at their disposal.

"We've already discussed the fact that if we focused too much on Cristiano Ronaldo and hoped for a lot then we could have a problem, especially if what's happening now happened, if he didn't come," he continued in Spanish newspaper Marca.

"Now we've signed Van der Vaart and in three months we'll have a new signing in the shape of (Wesley) Sneijder (who is injured until November).

"There's no need now to panic and say we should sign such and such because we really only need players who can improve this group.

"And for a team like Real Madrid that's difficult."

Seemingly less concerned by Ronaldo's non-arrival was Real captain Raul.

The Madrid number seven was confident the squad already in place was capable of competing for honours, adding that now the club should just "get on with it".

"Cristiano has said it all now. He's not coming and that's the end of it," he said.

"He said it all himself, and as I said a few days ago with the group we have here we can aspire to achieve all our objectives.

"There's a great group here, both in terms of football and the personalities in the group, and we're in the right condition to fight for everything.

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