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Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 12:51 UK

Man Utd accept 80m Ronaldo bid

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Manchester United
Ronaldo was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid last summer

Manchester United have accepted a world record-shattering £80m bid from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.

"United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player," read a statement from the Old Trafford club.

It added the decision came at the 24-year-old winger's request after he "again expressed his desire to leave".

United said the offer was unconditional and want the matter to be concluded by 30 June, while Madrid hope to agree personal terms "in the next few days".

"Real Madrid confirm they have made an offer to Manchester United for the acquisition of the rights of the player Cristiano Ronaldo," said the Spanish club in a statement.

But the BBC's Steve Kingstone in Madrid stated that Real had yet to confirm the agreed price of £80m stated by United.

A spokesman for United's owners, the Glazer family, insisted that the decision to sell Ronaldo was taken solely by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The spokesman told the BBC: "It was purely a football decision and had nothing to do with the financial structure of the club."

606: DEBATE
jakarth

It is understood that the transfer fee would be made available for Ferguson to invest in the transfer market.

United have been linked with the likes of Lyon forward Karim Benzema, Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Wigan's Antonio Valencia.

Madrid signed Brazilian Kaka for a reported £56m earlier in the week, surpassing the previous world record fee in pounds sterling of £45.6m, which Real paid for Zinedine Zidane in 2001.

Madrid hope for quick Ronaldo deal

That deal was sealed by the ambition of returning Real president Florentino Perez, who previously led the Spanish club from 2000 to 2006 - during the famous galacticos era.

He recently appointed Villarreal boss Manuel Pellegrini as Real's new coach, and had previously made it clear he would do "everything possible" to sign Ronaldo.

Madrid have also been linked with Liverpool's Xabi Alonso, Valencia's David Villa and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery since Perez's unopposed election signalled the return of their vast spending.

There had been reports that Madrid would have to pay a £26m penalty clause to Ronaldo as a consequence of an alleged "pre-contract" arrangement that had been agreed with the player's representative Jorge Mendes, if the Spanish club did not sign him this summer.

FOOTBALL BLOG
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

"This was one that was never ever going to go away," said BBC Radio 5 Live chief football correspondent Mike Ingham.

"After the Champions League final he criticised Sir Alex Ferguson's tactics, he threw his toys out of the pram in the derby with Manchester City after he was substituted. He's been very high maintenance. And £80m is hard to resist.

"Personally, I'm very sorry to see him leave but it's absolutely inevitable. If it hadn't been this summer it would have been next summer.

"This could mean they might be able to keep Carlos Tevez, maybe Wayne Rooney can be liberated."

Archive from April: Ronaldo wanting to stay

Tevez's loan agreement with United has expired and the Argentine will cost United in the region of £25m, while Rooney may have more opportunities to play in his favoured central position if Ronaldo leaves.

Ronaldo, who is currently believed to be on holiday in Los Angeles, joined United in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon for £12.2m, but was strongly linked with a move to the Spanish capital in the summer of 2008.

United lodged a complaint with world governing body Fifa last June over what they believed was a deliberate attempt by Real to unsettle the winger.

After a long, drawn-out saga that ran through the summer months, the Portugal international insisted he was happy at Old Trafford and remained at United for the 2008-2009 season.

WORLD PRESS REACTION
Spain's Marca: "The signing of the century."
Spain's AS: "Praise is mixed with criticism for the price, a new world record."
Spain's El Mundo: "Madrid pay for Ronaldo 57 times his weight in gold."
Spain's El Pais: "Florentino Perez lives in another galaxy."
Portugal's Record: "Real Madrid spend 94m euros for Ronaldo in times of crisis."
Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport: "That's not fair. Mad Real. After Kaka, Real Madrid sign Cristiano Ronaldo."
France's L'Equipe: ""Benzema's turn?"
America's Los Angeles Times: "The hair-gel industry in north-west England suffered a catastrophic blow on Thursday."

"Now I understand I made the best decision," Ronaldo told Spanish sports paper Marca after he had made that choice. "I am with Manchester in body and soul."

But the speculation soured relations between the clubs and last December United manager Ferguson said he would not "sell that mob a virus".

And despite Ronaldo's claim that he wanted to remain at Old Trafford, he was the subject of constant speculation during the 2008-2009 season and often gave mixed messages about his future.

If Ronaldo does sign for Madrid, his last appearance for United will have been in the Champions League final in Rome - in which the Premier League champions were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona.

"History will remember him very well in terms of his contribution as a footballer, he'll also be seen as petulant, egotistical and stubborn but he's been a wonderful player," said United We Stand fanzine editor Andy Mitten.

MIHIR BOSE BLOG
BBC sports editor Mihir Bose

It took time for Ronaldo to find his best form after arriving in England but he became a pivotal player for United, who have won the last three Premier League titles.

In the 2007-08 season he scored 42 goals, which topped the previous club record for a midfielder held by George Best, and was on the scoresheet as United defeated Chelsea in the Champions League final.

His form through 2008 saw him named Fifa World Player of the Year in January, just a month after he won the Ballon d'Or as the European Player of the Year.

Ronaldo was the top scorer for his club last season, with 26 goals, taking his total for United to 118 in 292 appearances.



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see also
Ronaldo confident of Real switch
12 Jun 09 |  Man Utd
History of the world transfer record
11 Jun 09 |  Football
Hughes expects big transfer spree
11 Jun 09 |  Football
Reaction to Real's Ronaldo offer
11 Jun 09 |  Man Utd
Who can replace Ronaldo?
12 Jun 09 |  Man Utd
How can Real Madrid afford Ronaldo?
11 Jun 09 |  Business
Ronaldo's career in photos
11 Jun 09 |  Football
Kaka completes Real Madrid switch
09 Jun 09 |  Europe
Real appoint Pellegrini as coach
01 Jun 09 |  Europe
Football braced for transfer mayhem
05 Jun 09 |  Football
Ronaldo named Fifa player of 2008
12 Jan 09 |  Football
Ronaldo pledges future to Man Utd
26 Oct 08 |  Man Utd
Real escape Fifa rap over Ronaldo
16 Jun 08 |  Man Utd
Ferguson issues Ronaldo warning
01 Jun 08 |  Man Utd
Ronaldo 'wants to play at Madrid'
06 Jun 08 |  Man Utd
Man Utd sign Ronaldo
12 Aug 03 |  Man Utd
Thursday's gossip column
11 Jun 09 |  Gossip


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