United agree to let Ronaldo join Real in 80m switch

<!--StartFragment--> ONE of the longest-running transfer sagas of recent years edged close to conclusion yesterday when Manchester United accepted a world record-shattering &pound;80m bid from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.<br /><br />United said they gave Real permission to discuss personal terms with Ronaldo, 24, after the Fifa World Player of the Year informed the Old Trafford hierarchy that he wanted to move to the Spanish club.<br /><br />The Premier League champions set a deadline of the end of the month for the deal to be completed, but few hitches are expected and Real confidently predicted their second huge transfer of the summer would be sealed within days.<br /><br />Portugal winger Ronaldo&rsquo;s departure is likely to trigger further transfer activity at United, with Wigan&rsquo;s Ecuador winger Luis Antonio Valencia widely anticipated to arrive for around &pound;15m. Bayern Munich&rsquo;s Franck Ribery, although costlier than Valencia at around &pound;45m, has the pedigree to replace Ronaldo and, in a timely admission, the German club yesterday conceded a &ldquo;crazy&rdquo; fee might persuade them to sell. Lyon forward Karim Benzema is another target, though a move for him may hinge on whether out-of-contract striker Carlos Tevez stays at Old Trafford.<br /><br />Ronaldo&rsquo;s imminent arrival at Real follows their &pound;56m signing of Brazil playmaker Kaka from AC Milan on Monday. Valencia and Spain forward David Villa looks likely to follow.<br /><br />Madeira-born Ronaldo signed for United for &pound;12.25m in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon, and became an increasingly influential figure. His peak came in 2007-08 when he scored 42 goals as United won the league and Champions League double. Real tried to prise him away last summer; Ronaldo openly flirted with the idea and although United initially resisted, a deal has long seemed a question of when, not if.<br /><br />A club statement read: &ldquo;Manchester United have received a world-record, unconditional offer of &pound;80m for Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. At the request of Cristiano &ndash; who has again expressed his desire to leave &ndash; and after discussion with the player&rsquo;s representatives, United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <!--StartFragment--> SPLASHING THE CASH BIGGEST TRANSFERS IN HISTORY (&pound;)<br /><strong>Player &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Transfer &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Fee &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Year</strong><br />Cristiano Ronaldo &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Man Utd to Real Madrid &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&pound;80.0m &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;2009<br />Kaka&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;AC Milan to Real Madrid &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&pound;56.1m &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;2009<br />Zinedine Zidane &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Juventus to Real Madrid &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&pound;45.0m &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;2001<br />Luis Figo &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Barcelona to Real Madrid &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &pound;37.0m &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;2000<br />Hernan Crespo &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Parma to Lazio &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &pound;35.5m &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;2000<br />Gianluigi Buffon &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Parma to Juventus &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &pound;32.6m &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;2001<br />Robinho &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;Real Madrid to Man City &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&pound;32.5m &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;2008 <!--EndFragment-->