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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Ronaldo signs new deal at Man Utd
Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo has admitted he would like to play in Spain one day
Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a new five-year contract with Premiership leaders Manchester United.

The 22-year-old Portuguese winger has ended speculation over his future after being linked with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"I am delighted. I spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson about my future and everyone knew that I wanted to stay," he said.

"I am very happy at the club and I want to win trophies and hopefully we will do that this season."

United boss Ferguson added: "It is fantastic news, it emphasises the point that Cristiano is happy here and that he is at the right club.

606: DEBATE
MJ

"He has a great relationship with the team, staff and the fans and he will go on to be one of Manchester United's great players."

Ronaldo has been in scintillating form for United this season as they aim to win the treble of the Champions League, the Premiership and the FA Cup.

He is also the favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

Ronaldo joined United from Sporting Lisbon for 12m in August 2003, agreeing a five-year contract which he extended by a further two years in November 2005.

He was strongly linked with a move following the World Cup, where he was involved in controversy with his involvement in Wayne Rooney's sending-off in Portugal's quarter-final win over England.

But Ronaldo has returned to England to lead United's charge on the treble and took his goals tally to 20 with a double in the midweek rout of AS Roma.

Many pundits believe he is currently the best player on the planet, with team-mate Patrice Evra even suggesting he had the ability to make the same impact as Pele and Maradona.

He is one of the best signings I have ever made... the measurement of his improvement this year is astronomical

Sir Alex Ferguson on Cristiano Ronaldo

Rather than shy away from such comparisons, Ferguson has embraced them.

"At 22, he has the same skill factor as Maradona and Pele," said the Scot.

"He is one of the best signings I have ever made. The measurement of his improvement this year is astronomical.

"In terms of top-flight football, where do you find a winger who has scored 20 goals. It is incredible.

"Without question, Cristiano is getting to the level of best player in the world.

"Thereafter, it is up to others to decide whether he is as good as Maradona and Pele. That is the challenge in front of him now."

Ronaldo began the 2006/7 campaign under a cloud after the adverse publicity he received following his part in England's World Cup demise.

But Ferguson said he always felt Ronaldo would cope with the flak that came his way.

There was no reason for him to think about leaving, other than the fact people perceive Real Madrid as a club for galacticos, or whatever they call them

Sir Alex Ferguson

"We had dinner with him in Portugal and stressed this had happened before to David Beckham," revealed Ferguson.

"It is a seven-day wonder really.

"There is nothing wrong with booing. We get booed at most places. But he had the nerve to handle it. He still gets a bit of it but that is only because he is a great player."

Ferguson also expressed supreme confidence Ronaldo has made a wise decision to stay where he is.

"There was no reason for him to think about leaving, other than the fact people perceive Real Madrid as a club for galacticos, or whatever they call them," said the United boss.

"They have this notion about themselves and Barcelona are a fantastic club, too, but I can't say they are miles in front of Manchester United.

"Most people recognise we are one of the biggest clubs in the world and we believe Cristiano is in the right place."



SEE ALSO
Man Utd 7-1 Roma (agg 8-3)
10 Apr 07 |  Europe
Owen Hargreaves column
02 Apr 07 |  Football
Real confirm interest in Ronaldo
27 Mar 07 |  Man Utd
Gill confident over Ronaldo deal
13 Mar 07 |  Man Utd


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