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Fergie hails departing Manchester United legend Ronaldo as Real Madrid stump up 80m fee up front
Published : 01 Jul 2009 10:57:57Rss feed
Sir Alex Ferguson has resisted the opportunity to hit out at Cristiano Ronaldo after Real Madrid paid £80million up front for the Manchester United star. Ronaldo has agreed a six-year deal in Spain after yet again demanding a move away from Old Trafford. Ferguson has endured a string of strops from the Portugal winger in his six years at United but he praised his sensational contribution to the club. 'Cristiano has been a marvellous player for Manchester United. His six years at Old Trafford have seen him develop into the best footballer in the world,' he said. 'His contribution has been a major factor in the club's success in that time and his talent, his ability to entertain and his infectious personality have enthralled fans the world over. Everyone here wishes him well in his future career.' Ronaldo will be unveiled by Real on Monday after signing a deal worth around £200,000-a-week after tax. He will spearhead the Spanish giants' latest attempt to rule Europe alongside £56m Kaka, who was paraded last night after his arrival from AC Milan. Ronaldo has spent the past year pushing for a move to Spain and he has finally earned his wish. United were reluctant to lose their superstar but the immediate arrival of all of the world-record £80m in the bank will soften the blow. Ferguson has already splashed out £16m on Wigan winger Antonio Valencia, who will replace Ronaldo on the right of United's attack. He is also attempting to sign Lyon striker Karim Benzema, although there are fears that Real are attempting hijack that deal. Meanwhile, Real sporting director Jorge Valdano admits the deal to sign Ronaldo was agreed well before it was officially announced. The Argentine revealed the exact details of the deal had been set out prior to he and president Florentino Perez arrived at the Bernabeu a month ago. Sportsmail understands there was a long-standing agreement for the transfer and, despite denials from United, Valdano said: 'With Cristiano Ronaldo we had to sign him now because there was an expiry date. 'There was a contract and we had to respect the dates stipulated, when to make the signing public, when to communicate with Manchester, when to pay. 'All of that was established in a very precise manner that didn't allow us to play not even with the dates.' In fact, many Bernabeu insiders were concerned that the £80million outlay was too high. However, there were claims Madrid would have to pay a £26million penalty clause if they did not complete the deal, which left them with little room to manoeuvre. But United spokesman said: 'Until the faxed bid was received on June 10, 2009, there has never been any agreement of any sort between Manchester United and Real Madrid over Cristiano Ronaldo.'