Blatter denies comparing Ronaldo to a 'slave'

August 1, 2008

FIFA president Sepp Blatter insists he did not compare Cristiano Ronaldo's situation at Manchester United to that of a slave.

With Ronaldo's future the subject of intense speculation all summer as Real Madrid continue to court the Portugal international, Blatter expressed his 'sympathy' for the player.

However, the controversial figurehead this week said on a visit to Vietnam: 'I have never said that Ronaldo is a slave.

'But I said slavery with young people. European clubs are trying to get 13, 14 and 15-year-old boys and bring them to the big clubs.

'I have never mentioned that for Ronaldo. But the press, they have distorted it.

'Ronaldo is not a slave.'

At the time, Blatter said: 'I think in football there is too much modern slavery, transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere. And we are trying now to intervene in such cases.'

However, he now appears to have changed his mind again.

'They (Real Madrid and Manchester United) will solve this problem.

'We have nothing to say, FIFA is not going to intervene, let it be as it is now.'