Long-term Nike deal holds key to Ronaldo's future at Manchester United
17 May 2009 02:20
Cristiano Ronaldo will give the clearest indication yet that he will remain at Manchester United next season by signing a long-term deal with his sponsors Nike this week.
The new deal, which is worth up to £25million over the next five years, effectively rules out a move to Real Madrid, who are endorsed by Nike's biggest rivals, adidas.
Sir Alex Ferguson will use the world player of the year mainly as a centre-forward next season and Wigan winger Antonio Valencia is likely to fill the vacancy on the right side if United succeed with an £8m bid.
Fergie will be relieved that the Nike deal means there will be no repeat of last summer's long-running saga over Ronaldo going to the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo and Tiger Woods are seen as the faces of Nike around the world and the company would not countenance one of their main assets wearing an adidas Real Madrid shirt. Nike have a £300m sponsorship deal with United until 2015.
Ronaldo's decision to stay puts the future of Carlos Tevez in further doubt. Ferguson will have Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo, Federico Macheda and Danny Wellbeck to choose from as strikers and is unwilling to break the bank to keep Tevez.
With Liverpool unable to pay the £30m wanted by Tevez's owners, the Argentine may have to move abroad to play in the Champions League.