Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano claims his club are 'in negotiations' with Manchester United to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
Real have turned their attention to the World and European footballer of the year after completing a £59million move for Brazil star Kaka from AC Milan earlier in the week.
United are likely to resist any attempt from their Spanish rivals to sign the 24-year-old Portugal international, but that has not stopped Valdano from speaking openly of his admiration for the player.
Ronaldo was involved in a public tug-of-war between the two clubs last season and the fresh interest is likely to further annoy the Old Trafford side.
"I can only talk about players who are on their way here, not about those we are in negotiations over," claimed Valdano when asked about Ronaldo.
"He is a great professional, he dedicates a very great deal of time to his work. He is a great footballer and a very good professional.
"According to the information we have managed to obtain, he is an excellent professional.
"You don't get the player's body he has, which is a footballing advertisement, without working a great deal.
"Another thing is that his reputation as an officially good-looking guy, and a social or advertising model, blurs his image a bit. He is a great footballer."