Ronaldo to play for Man Utd till next year

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed in Portuguese newspaper Publico that he will play for Manchester United &quot;for at least another year.&quot;

Updated: August 14, 2008 16:21 IST
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Manchester United's star player Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed in Portuguese newspaper Publico that he will play for the European Champions "for at least another year."

Ronaldo, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for weeks, told Publico: "Sir Alex Ferguson heard my arguments, I heard his and, in fact, it was settled that the best for both parties would be for me to stay.

"Therefore, I can confirm that, next season, I will play for Manchester United.

"Before rumours emerge saying that I will play against my will, I want to make this clear -- whoever says or writes that is lying.

"I will play for Manchester with all my heart and soul. I will fight and honour that shirt with the same commitment and dedication as always."

United's relationship with Real has been a casualty of the enduring transfer speculation. Ronaldo, for whom the Spanish club had been prepared to pay 85 million euros, has admitted he is the guilty party.

He continued: "I was responsible for all this controversy. I was the one who publicly expressed my desire to go to Real Madrid. I ended up being, even involuntarily, responsible for the poor relationship between the two clubs."

However 23-year-old Ronaldo, whose contract with United runs till 2012, told the paper he had not ruled out an eventual move to Real Madrid at some point in his career.

He explained: "I knew Real Madrid were interested in signing me and that they had allegedly made a very high offer to Manchester United.

"My desire was, for some time, that Manchester had accepted my transfer to Madrid. Saying otherwise would be to trick people and my own consciousness."

Ronaldo's comments put an end to the speculation and war of words between United and Real concerning the top scorer in the English Premiership last season.

Ronaldo is currently in Portugal where he is recovering from surgery on his injured right ankle.

Ferguson, speaking after United's 0-0 friendly draw with Juventus at Old Trafford on Wednesday, said: "We knew this was the case (that Ronaldo would be staying). I flew to Portugal some weeks ago and we cleared the air and he spoke to some of the players.

"The boy has been through a troubled time in terms of the approaches from Spain, but once he knew my stance, he then settled down.

"He has come out with this interview, which we are all pleased about, and we will welcome him back here this week."

Ferguson has urged the United supporters to stand by Ronaldo, despite his perceived disloyalty.

He said: "The fans have got to understand. It's very difficult when a young boy is tempted by all this money, particularly a young lad from Madeira -- his father died as a young man, so he looks after his mother, sister and brother.

"You can understand that in a way, but Cristiano knows more than anybody that he is very happy here.

"He has always been happy here and there is never a complaint about Manchester United. He has always been treated properly and the players have had a great relationship with him.

"We can put this to bed now. It's finished and the boy is a Manchester United player and that's most important thing."

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