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Page last updated at 06:42 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 07:42 UK

Ronaldo faces three-month lay-off

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo has consistently been linked with a move to Real Madrid

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he could be sidelined for up to three months following his ankle operation.

It had been thought the 23-year-old winger, who is at the centre of a transfer tug-of-war with Real Madrid, would only be out for half that time.

"It's confirmed I'll be out of action for up to 12 weeks but recovery is going well," said the Portugal star.

"I must focus on my recovery. I'll be training with a ball in two months."

United initially stated Ronaldo would be out for up to six weeks after the operation, which was performed in Amsterdam on Monday.

If the player's prognosis is correct, he could be out until the end of September and miss their opening five Premier League matches, including away games at Liverpool and Chelsea.

That assumes he is still at Old Trafford next season, having again expressed his desire for a move to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals as United won the Premier League and Champions League last season, is not scheduled to return to the club for another 10 days as he recuperates in Portugal.


United have always insisted Ronaldo, who is only one year into a five-year contract which runs until 2012, is not available at any price.

But he has long spoken of his desire to play in Spain and Real have repeatedly spoken of their interest in signing him.

On Thursday, the simmering dispute between the player and United took a new twist when Fifa president Sepp Blatter entered the debate, saying there is "too much modern slavery in football," a comment on transfer trends that Ronaldo then said he agreed with.

see also
Ronaldo 'wants transfer freedom'
10 Jul 08 |  Man Utd
Time for 'slave' Cristiano to go
11 Jul 08 |  Football
Rooney's agent given 18-month ban
09 Jul 08 |  Football
Queiroz poised for Portugal job
08 Jul 08 |  Man Utd
Man Utd limit transfer activity
30 Jun 08 |  Man Utd
Real deny Man Utd Ronaldo claims
10 Jun 08 |  Man Utd
Ronaldo 'yet to decide on future'
08 Jun 08 |  Portugal
Ferguson issues Ronaldo warning
01 Jun 08 |  Man Utd
Ronaldo future remains uncertain
22 May 08 |  Man Utd
Ronaldo will not leave - Man Utd
20 May 08 |  Man Utd

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