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Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 08:51 UK

Blatter 'slave' dig irks Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson (left) and Sepp Blatter
Blatter (right) believes Ferguson should let Ronaldo join Real Madrid

Sir Alex Ferguson has criticised Fifa president Sepp Blatter for his "slavery" comments over Manchester United's stance on Cristiano Ronaldo.

United will not let the 23-year-old winger, whose deal ends in 2012, join Real Madrid, leading Blatter to compare transfer trends to "modern slavery".

But United manager Ferguson said: "It was an unfortunate statement from someone in such a position.

"Slavery was abolished many years ago. Players can earn 5m or 6m a year."

He added: "I do not want to dignify this kind of statement with a response but when you consider the history of slavery, it was a very unfortunate statement."

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Since Portugal's exit from Euro 2008 in June, Ronaldo has made no secret of his desire to move from Old Trafford to join Spanish giants Real.

But Ronaldo only signed a new five-year contract in 2007 and Ferguson has no intention of letting him leave, a situation that resulted in Blatter bemoaning modern-day transfers.

"I'm always in favour of protecting the player and if the player wants to leave, let him leave," said Blatter earlier this month.

"I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere."

Ronaldo said he agreed with the Fifa chief, although Blatter's comments provoked widespread condemnation from managers in English football.

The Portuguese star is not likely to be back in action until the end of September as he is currently recovering from an ankle operation.

Meanwhile, United beat Portsmouth 2-1 in their latest pre-season friendly in Nigeria, thanks to goals from Chris Eagles and Carlos Tevez.

see also
Ferguson unfazed by Ronaldo trip
27 Jul 08 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 2-1 Portsmouth
27 Jul 08 |  African
Man Utd keen to seal Tevez deal
26 Jul 08 |  Man Utd
Ferguson not keen on London role
25 Jul 08 |  Football
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

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