Ronaldo remains coy over future

July 20, 2008

LOS ANGELES, July 20 (Premier League) - Cristiano Ronaldo is continuing to remain coy over his future despite Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's optimism the forward will remain at Old Trafford.

Ferguson met Real Madrid target Ronaldo for clear-the-air talks on Monday and insisted he was confident the player would still be at Old Trafford next season.

But Ronaldo - who is on holiday in America as he recovers from ankle surgery - has still to make a firm decision on his future.

'I've had hundreds of questions about Manchester United and Real Madrid,' he told ESPN. 'What do you want me to say? That I'm going or I'm staying?

'I don't know about the future, only God knows it. I can't say any more.

'Great players are always hounded by great clubs. It's a normal situation. There are other great players who are in the market who are good and who other clubs want.

'I have always been hounded, not only this year. It's not strange for me, to see what happens.'

Madrid are reportedly ready to offer Ronaldo an astronomical pay packet, while United chief executive David Gill is adamant he will not receive a pay rise should he stay at United.

'He only entered into the previous contract 18 months before and in terms of where he's at in our wage hierarchy he's doing pretty well,' he said.

When asked if the player's behaviour was partly to get a higher salary from United, Gill said: 'Possibly, but not necessarily, and if the figures bandied around that Real Madrid are talking about are true, we wouldn't go anywhere near that. That would be lunacy.'

Instead, Gill called on the player to show 'commitment and loyalty'.

'The player is under contract so the strength and the rights are with Manchester United,' added Gill.

'I think we've been pretty clear all along that Ronaldo has got a contract until 2012, he's a valuable member of the team and that's the situation.

'Obviously there's some issues there, but that's for Alex and is why Alex had the meeting, to discuss things and put our point of view.

'I'm sure Cristiano put his point of view and hopefully we can move forward.

'All we were doing, effectively, is saying we clearly have a player who is one of the best in the world.

'He entered into a new contract, his third with us, only 18 months after his previous one.

'With that, we believe, go some responsibilities and obligations.

'There was an increased salary and we clearly feel there has to be some commitment and loyalty and he can't just say, 'I've entered into it, but I'll leave a year down the line', especially after the season we've just had.

'It's a two-way street and contracts are entered into with a view to getting that kind of commitment.'

But Ronaldo, who signed a new deal at Old Trafford 18 months ago, claims any decision on his future will not be based on money.

'I want to be happy regardless of where I play,' he added. 'I can be happy everywhere, if I am with people I like, if I am animated, motivated.

'Am I motivated to continue at United? I am always motivated.

'I am ambitious and I want to always improve. I don't know the future, but I will be motivated.'

Ronaldo will be out for three months as he recovers from the operation.

And the winger claimed he just wants to concentrate on getting back to full fitness as quickly as possible.

'I'm not anxious about the future, I'm feeling normal,' continued Ronaldo. 'Normal is resting my head, my body, having a good recovery and the future belongs to God, not to me.'