Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez has broken ranks and backed team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo’s desire to move to Real Madrid.
Tevez says he understands why Portugal winger Ronaldo is tempted to join Real and that United should respect his wishes.
“I understand Cristiano Ronaldo. Every footballer wants to play for Real Madrid,” said Tevez. “Nevertheless I also believe on the other hand everybody wants to play for Manchester United.”
“He’s a very important player for us, but that kind of decision is personal and he’s the one who has to take it, If he wants to experience something different, I think we’ll have to respect it.”
That stance is squarely at odds with that of United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who this week warned Ronaldo moving to Real was “the worst thing he could do”.
Ferguson is determined to keep Ronaldo, who scored 44 goals last season, and has resisted Real’s persistent attempts to engineer a world record transfer.
But Ronaldo wants to join the five time European champions, and has repeatedly refused to commit his future to United.
“I haven’t spoken with him, but when that kind of thing happens, none of the parties feel comfortable,” Tevez added. “Besides his ankle is injured, and for that reason he must be having a bad time. I’m hopeful the ending will be happy.”
Real’s almost daily declarations in the Spanish press that Ronaldo’s signing was imminent have died down in the face of United’s staunch resistance.
But Real captain Raul yesterday created more headlines by openly encouraging his club’s bid and rubbishing suggestions that Ronaldo’s high earnings would disrupt the dressing room.
He said: “I think it could be very positive because we have a great squad, with a lot of big players and it is obvious if a very high level player joined he would be welcome.”