Alex Ferguson has launched a stinging attack on Real Madrid, accusing the Spanish champions of ‘lacking morals’ in their attempts to lure Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabeu.
The Manchester United manager is furious at statements made by Real coach Bernd Schuster and president Ramon Calderon questioning whether Ronaldo really wants to stay at Old Trafford.
Speculation surrounding the Portugese winger has intensified despite United’s thrilling Champions League final victory over Chelsea this week.
But Ferguson responded by insisting Ronaldo is going nowhere, and angrily accused Schuster and Calderon of deliberately attempting to unsettle his player.
“You get used to Real Madrid’s performance in these things,” said the United manager. “I read last night that Calderon’s talking, Schuster’s talking, and they use this market as a vehicle to unsettle players.
“The simple facts are that he is with us and has four years left on his contract and that’s the first thing. And Calderon makes that great statement ‘slavery was abolished many, many years ago’. Did he tell Franco that? Jesus Christ, give me a break.
“It doesn’t matter which player it is, the ones you want to keep you have work hard at to keep. In the modern day that’s a fact. So that’s not lost on Manchester United. And it’s not lost on Real Madrid either. They have to try and keep their best players and we have to try and keep ours.”
“In terms of great clubs, clubs with great moral issues like Barcelona have far better moral issues than Real Madrid will ever have.
“We know Real Madrid are not the only club with an interest in Ronaldo but they are not saying so.
“Do you not think we’ve not had many interests from the big clubs in Europe about our best players? Of course. But they don’t get into the nonsense that they (Real Madrid) get into. And they’ve no moral issues at all. They think that they can ride roughshod over everyone but they won’t do it with us.”
United have twice sold high profile players to the La Liga champions in recent years with David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy both moving to the Spanish capital.
Ferguson, though, insists those expensive moves were brokered simply because, unlike in the case of Ronaldo, it was the United manager who decided the two players were surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, and not the result of pressure from Real.
“We sold them Van Nistelrooy and Beckham because we wanted to,” he added. “I won’t be moving anyone out in the summer. They’re all staying.”
The United manager admitted he was already planning for next season less than 48 hours after lifting the European Cup for the second time – the club’s third victory in the competition – and restated his belief that his current squad can repeat this season’s triumph of a league and Champions League double.
He said: “I will now look at the squad and see what we need for next year.
“This team will win more titles, I’m sure of that, and the challenge to win more European trophies is something has been part of our motivation every year.
“Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool are on five, then Bayern and Ajax. And I think that’s the big challenge, to get to a more respectable number of European championships.”
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