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Ronaldo ends speculation: I want to play for Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo has stated explicitly that he wants to join Real Madrid in an interview with Brazilian website Terra. The Portuguese winger's statement will come as a blow to Manchester United's management and fans.

During the interview, held at Portugal's Euro 2008 training camp, Ronaldo ended weeks of speculation about his plans for the future by making it clear that he wants to play for the Spanish champions next year.

"Yes, I would like to play for Real Madrid, that's the truth, depending on what they are willing to spend on me and what Manchester United ask. But that's not up to me" the Golden Boot winner told reporter Julio Gomes Filho.

Real are reported to have offered Ronaldo a deal worth in the region of £200,000 a week, which adds up to around £12m per year. But any proposed move would have to be sanctioned by Manchester United.

The 2008 Premiership and Champions League winners will now have to decide between accepting Real's world-record bid of £78m or making Ronaldo honour the five year contract he signed back in April 2007. While it would be difficult for Manchester United to leave their prized asset in the stands as Alex Ferguson is reported to have threatened, letting Ronaldo leave would be an irreparable blow to the public image of the world's richest club.

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