Manchester United chief executive David Gill has moved to kill speculation about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the Real Madrid presidential elections by reiterating he is not for sale.
Florentino Perez, who has officially confirmed he will be re-running for the Real presidency, has vowed to deliver on a “spectacular project” and Gill says he and his fellow Old Trafford officials are braced for another close-season fighting fires on the subject of Portugal international Ronaldo.
However, a bullish Gill insisted there was no burning desire to speak to the world player of the year for clarity on his intentions.
“We’ve never had that discussion. There’s absolutely no point in having that discussion,” Gill told the BBC.
“We made it clear last year he’s on a long-term contract with us and it’s never come up. He’s been fantastic both on and off the pitch throughout, he’s supported us in what we want to do commercially and he’s been a model professional. He is not for sale. He’s a great player and he’s part of our club.”
Real incensed Sir Alex Ferguson last summer during their relentless pursuit of the 24-year-old and he reacted to reports that a deal had been struck between the two clubs by insisting he would never do business with “that mob”, adding he “wouldn’t sell them a virus”.
Ronaldo, who on Saturday helped United secure a third successive and record-equalling 18th domestic title, has insisted he is “really, really happy” at Old Trafford and Gill responded by insisting the world club champions would never court the media to lure a player.
He added: “I’m sure the Spanish press will start rumours and start that whole process going again. There’s a [presidential] election as we know at Real Madrid and we’ve seen it all before with many of our players over the years, and that will happen.
“But we’re not prepared to use the papers in that way at Manchester United and I think we’ve got to be confident that Cristiano will stay. He’s had an excellent season, he didn’t score as many goals as last year but nonetheless is the top scorer in the Premier League; he is a fantastic player.”
Nick Walsh writes features and betting previews for Betfair.