Man Utd will welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo

World Football, EPL, Manchester United, Real Madrid

Better together: Rio Ferdinand insists Ronaldo will be welcomed back by United

Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand says he cannot wait to welcome back colleague Cristiano Ronaldo when he returns to Old Trafford but admitted Real Madrid's much publicised interest in the Portugal winger had overshadowed United's Premier League and European success last season.

Speaking after United's pre-season exhibition 1-1 draw with Kaiser Chiefs in South Africa, the England defender said: "The players can't wait to see him back."

"There won't be any problems between Cristiano and the rest of the squad because we have always stood by what Sir Alex Ferguson has said all along - Cristiano will be a United player next season," he added.

"Cristiano is a great guy. He never has any problems with anyone in the squad and I'm sure that will be the same when he comes back through the door."

Ferdinand did confess, however, that the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga had regrettably dominated the headlines in what should have been a summer spent basking in the glory of the club's double-winning season.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to put an end to the protracted affair last week when he insisted the 23-year-old will definitely stay at Old Trafford following a positive discussion with the player in Lisbon, after weeks endless speculation over whether Ronaldo would get his 'desired' move to boyhood club, Real Madrid.

Ferdinand, captain in Gary Neville's absence last season, revealed he was disappointed that the gloss has been taken off United's captures of the Premier League and Champions League titles.

"This summer, given the season we've just had, should have been a time to think about our achievements," Ferdinand said.

"In the end that became impossible because of the stuff going on with Cristiano."

Meanwhile, Ronaldo has personally assured the club's supporters that he is "motivated" to stay at Old Trafford but admitted he remained undecided about what the future holds for him, refusing to rule out a possible move to Real Madrid.

Speaking to reporters in America, where he is currently recuperating from his recent ankle surgery, he said: "I've had hundreds of questions about Manchester United and Real Madrid. I don't know about the future, only God knows it. I can't say any more.

"I can be happy everywhere, if I am with people I like, if I am animated, motivated.

"Am I motivated to continue at United? I am always motivated," he said.

United chief executive David Gill, however, has warned Ronaldo not to expect an offer of a new contract upon his return to Manchester, once he completes his recovery from injury.

Gill restated the club have no intention to sell the player to the Spanish champions, while informing Ronaldo he must settle with his £120,000-per week, five-year deal he signed at Old Trafford 15 months ago in April 2007.

He said: "What has been made clear all along by us is that Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale and I would also like to state that a new contract will not be part of our discussions either.

"Cristiano only entered into his current contract in April 2007 and, in terms of where he's at in our wage hierarchy, he is already doing pretty well."

Man Utd will welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo Reviewed by admin Ucop on 7:54 AM Rating: 5

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