Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football European

Cristiano Ronaldo signs £76m Real Madrid deal ending hopes of Manchester United return - and insists he has 'no issue' with Gareth Bale

By Sam Wallace

Cristiano Ronaldo’s studs-up training ground lunge at Gareth Bale on Friday will not be an issue between the players, according to Carlo Ancelotti’s English assistant Paul Clement on the day that Real Madrid secured their Portuguese superstar’s long-term future.

Ronaldo, 28, signed a five-year, £76m deal yesterday that puts him ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the best-paid footballer in the world. His decision to agree a new contract with Madrid puts an end to Manchester United’s attempts to lure him back – “Manchester is in the past,” he said yesterday – and means that the world’s two most expensive players will play in tandem for the foreseeable future.

Clement, who worked with Ancelotti at Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain and is now a coach at Madrid, said the club was satisfied that Ronaldo’s robust challenge on Bale in a training session on Friday “looks worse on camera than it was”.

Speaking after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Villarreal, in which both players scored, Clement said: “There’ll be no issue between those two. None at all. Good players like to work with good players. They’ll help each other to achieve things for this club, I’m sure, and they’ve started well enough. If they keep scoring together, everyone will be happy.

“He [Bale] seemed to grow when that goal went in. I’m sure it was quite a relief. The transfer was a long saga and ate into his pre-season, and I’m sure he’s got that game out of the way. Particularly to have scored as well, that’s very nice for him.

“We know he’s got that versatility and he can play left-back as well... and no, we didn’t consider playing him there, even if he started his  career at Southampton back there. We see him very much as an attacking player, and he’ll be that here, whether that’s through the middle, on the right or on the left. He has that versatility, as has Cristiano.”

Signing his new contract with Real’s president, Florentino Perez, Ronaldo said: “I will be honest with you – everyone knows I was in Manchester for six years. Manchester is in the past. Now my club is Real Madrid. This is my home, my family is here and I’m really happy here.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph