Just to give you a bit of perspective on just how farcical the Ronaldo situation was over the summer, I will show every quote about him over the summer months.

June 2008

1st: Ronaldo #1
“Let’s see, I hope there will be news soon,” said Ronaldo. “In two to three days I will announce my decision.”

2nd: Ronaldo #2
“I believe he’s at the right club and a club he should stay at because as much as Real Madrid are a great team and one of the biggest clubs in the world, he’s only just starting at Manchester United,” said Beckham. “He’s only been there a few years. He’s got a lot of people around him who will protect him. As a fan of Manchester United I hope he stays there, but who knows?”

Ronaldo #3
“We would like to have a player like Cristiano, but if he does not sign for us then it would not be a major problem,” said Calderon. “The club has said that they do not want to sell him and we cannot keep going back. One has to know when to stop these things in order to avoid the frustration that the fans could feel. His club have to want to and if they want to negotiate with Madrid or any other club then they will.”

3rd: Ronaldo #4
“What I have always said is that this club wants its money to be on the pitch, not in the bank,” said Calderon. “Nothing is expensive or cheap on its own. The counter-balance is what you receive for the price you pay. They know what we earn and it is made public that Madrid has it. Last year we made signings that looked expensive but now they look cheap. We do not know if he [Ronaldo] is going to come, but he is not going to remove the number from Raul, that is untouchable whoever joins.”

4th: Ronaldo #5
“Ronaldo is an impossible signing because his club don’t want to sell him,” said Calderon. “We can’t do anything if the club that owns him don’t want to sell. We would never approach a player under contract as this is not the policy of Real Madrid, and especially not with a club who we are such good friends with.”

Ronaldo #6
“Our position is clear,” said David Gill. “Sir Alex and I stated it in the last week. That’s it. That’s all we are going to say on the matter, full stop.”

5th: Ronaldo #7
“I want to play for Real Madrid, but only if it is true they are eager to pay me and Manchester United what they have been saying they will,” said Ronaldo. “However, it does not depend on me. It is important to send a message. From now on I will not talk again about this until the end of the Euros. It is not worth asking me because I will not reply.”

Ronaldo #8
“He’d be an important signing for Madrid because this is a club which signs the best players in the world, and that’s what Cristiano is,” said Van Nistelrooy. “Cristiano could bring a lot of things to this club. He’s young, he has everything and a long sporting career ahead of him. For Madrid he would be a great signing.”

8th: Ronaldo #9
“Still I do not know where I will play,” said Ronaldo. “I have not yet decided. It will be decided after the European Championships.”

9th: Ronaldo #10
“On 27th May, Manchester United made clear its intention to report Real Madrid to FIFA if it continued to involve itself in the future of Cristiano Ronaldo,” read an official statement. “Unfortunately, Real Madrid has not kept its own counsel and the club feels it has no alternative but to make a formal complaint to the world governing body, which it has done today.”

Ronaldo #11
“I don’t think Manchester United are noted as a selling club really,” said Rio. “I saw an interview with the manager the other day and I think we only really sell players that we want to sell and I wouldn’t put Ronnie in that category. At the end of the day he is a Man United player and long may that continue,”

10th: Ronaldo #12
“They don’t have any evidence because nothing has happened,” said Calderon. “All there is is what the papers say and rumours that the player seems to want to leave. But at the moment a move is impossible because United don’t want to sell him. It’s United’s right (to complain), but we haven’t done anything and we are not going to do anything. It’s a matter between the player and his club.”

Later that day…

Ronaldo #13
“This Cristiano matter does not worry me nor am I obsessed by it,” said Schuster. “While he doesn’t play for Madrid all we can do is hope, although it’s clear that he would be a great signing and would adapt well to our squad.”

11th: Ronaldo #14
“The price is not important,” said Calderon. “We had a player like Zidane who came here for £47m and it was a magnificent investment. It’s not a question of money but a question of efficiency. The case of Cristiano does not affect the image of the club abroad. I would be proud if big clubs made multi-million offers for Real Madrid players. In the end, if a player wants to leave – whatever the offer is – he will walk. The question is to give him guarantees of success.”

12th: Evra signs on until 2012
“Patrice has been a key part of the Club’s success in the last two seasons,” said Ferguson. “He’s developed into one of the best full-backs in world football and his infectious personality has helped build the incredible team spirit that exists at Old Trafford.”

Ronaldo #15
“I like a white kit,” said Ronaldo. “The white kit of the national team that is.”

14th: Ronaldo #16
“It’s totally up to him – I think he is enjoying himself over there (at United),” said Robben. “I don’t think you can say football is at a higher level (in Spain) because we weren’t in the last final of the Champions League like them. But, for me, I think Madrid is the biggest club in the world and I can understand if he wants to join them.”

15th: Ronaldo #17
“I talk with Cristiano all the time and I tell him how great this club is and the nice things that Madrid has,” said Heinze. “I would love to play alongside him again. He’s a kid who is already spoke highly about all the time in Madrid. If I had to pay for one player I would choose Cristiano. In Madrid we would welcome him with open arms. I don’t think Cristiano will get any better as a footballer, he is already next to God in his ability. But while Sir Alex is at United, it’s going to be difficult for him to go.”

16th: Loyal Ole
“I never fancied going,” said Solskjaer. “The only time it was even an issue was when the club accepted a bid for me from Tottenham in 1998. I went to see the gaffer but he said ‘I didn’t accept it, I want you here and you will play a big part in my squad’. I just thought that is good enough for me I will stay. My agent was not very happy with me because I was so stubborn but nowadays even he admits I was right. The thing is, Manchester United always fitted me quite well. And I will be remembered as an important member of the team during a period when Manchester United has been very successful. I can see now that I will always be in the history books. That makes me very proud. I have an opinion on Cristiano but it is not my business to talk in public about it.”

19th: Ronaldo #18
“We are waiting for Ronaldo to say something, and as soon as he says he wants to play for Real Madrid there will be conversations between the two clubs,” said Real’s director general of the presidency Miguel Angel Arroyo. “We would willingly reach an agreement with Manchester United if it is possible, that is to say, if they want to sell and if the price was affordable.”

20th: Ronaldo #19
“Further to Friday’s press speculation about where Cristiano Ronaldo’s future lies, the club has moved to reiterate its stance on the matter: United are not listening to offers,” read a statement on the official website. “Ronaldo has continually been linked with a move to Spanish side Real Madrid this summer. But the club reaffirmed to ManUtd.com on Friday morning that the 23-year-old United star is “not for sale”.”

Ronaldo #20
“It’d be a pleasure to play alongside him,” said Sneijder. “I’d sign him for Real Madrid with my eyes closed. Cristiano Ronaldo is among the two or three best players in the world, if not the best. I’m sure that with him we’d have a great chance of winning the Champions League.”

Ronaldo #21
“It is a dream, a step forward, you can call it what you want. For me it is a great opportunity, and as Scolari says, that train passes by only once, and we have to take advantage of it,” said Ronaldo. “You will soon know what I want. You do know what I want and that is why I don’t want to say anything else. Let’s wait. I want to give more details that is why I cannot say much more. It is my opinion, that is why I don’t mind if people get upset. It is my decision. It is what I want. I will speak to Manchester United. I will try to reach an agreement and we will see.”

21st: Ronaldo #22
“As we have already said many times, it is a problem between Manchester United and the player,” said Calderon. “If the two resolve this situation and Manchester United want to call us then we will be happy and delighted with them because Cristiano is a great player. We can’t say anything more, we only talk about our own footballers and Cristiano is Manchester United’s.”

22nd: Ronaldo #23
“We will not make a move until the team (Manchester United) says they want to sell the player,” said Calderon. “Right now they are saying the contrary and there’s little we can do. Once Ronaldo announces his future and once his club accept to sell him then we would have talks. Right now, he is a player of Manchester United and we will not interfere or create any problems. Ronaldo is under contract with another team and we cannot think about him but focus on the players we have.”

23rd: Ronaldo #24
“It depends on his personal wishes. If Ronaldo wants to play for Madrid, he will,” said Zidane. “Real Madrid has shown that when it wants a player, it gets him. That club is not afraid of paying a lot of money for a player. Madrid is prepared to pay even more for Cristiano than for me. If he comes to Spain it will be for a great sum, without doubt.”

24th: Ronaldo #25
“If Ronaldo plays in Real Madrid it will be good news because he is one of the best players in the world and is our enemy at the moment,” said Liverpool’s Arbeloa. “If he can play for Real Madrid for me it is perfect. For us it would be a good news because for Manchester United he is very important and if Ronaldo is not in Manchester for Liverpool it is good.”

25th: Ronaldo #26
“I am not worried about the case because the rules are clear and Manchester United has a very strong contract with the player for the next four years,” said Rummenigge, Bayern Munich’s chairman. “Besides, I know enough about (Sir) Alex Ferguson to know that if he says no, then that means no. Anyway, this is not a question of money for Manchester United. The player and Real Madrid can say what they want, United have the last word and if they say it is not happening then that is that. Teams will always have players in their squad that see incredible offers come in for them and contracts put forward that could see them earn a lot more money than they do with your club. That is the world that we currently live in, but luckily people can still say no. No is a very good word. In fact it is one of my favourites.”

Rummenigge believes that drumming up a deal through the media and rumours is not a helpful way of conducting business.

“I cannot believe that a club like Real Madrid can force a player like Cristiano Ronaldo to cause such tension, because the price that they will have to pay is too high for everyone,” he continued. “I think that this is dangerous for world football. Each club has to find its own way of dealing with things in these cases. This is a situation that only concerns Manchester United, but I would like to see Ronaldo stay at the club for the benefit of everyone.”

26th: Ronaldo #27
“We know that it’s something between the player and Manchester United,” said Calderon. “If the player continues to insist that he wants to come and if United will consider letting him go, then we’ll ask. If the price is right and everyone’s happy, then it won’t turn sour. I prefer not to talk much about him because he is a United player. We are in this situation as passive spectators, but his declarations have provoked a lot of expectation. Nevertheless that is not enough because the player belongs to United, a great club that we are friends with, and we don’t want to interfere. He is a great footballer. But it is not up to the player nor to Madrid. Manchester don’t want to sell him. It seems to me that he has become a bit of a ‘hot potato’ at United. But I don’t want to talk about that because what I say could be misinterpreted. If it was me, it would make me proud that the big clubs were asking about our players.”

28th: Ronaldo #28
“Every club in the world would like to have Ronaldo,” said UEFA president, Platini. “It’s part of the system we have today. Players move from club to club and I can understand why Real Madrid want him. They had di Stefano and Puskas in the past, and as Ronaldo is considered one of the best or the best player in the world it’s normal. If the club has the finances they can do it, if they don’t have the money they can’t.”

29th: Ronaldo #29
“I think Ronaldo will stay at United because I cannot see the club making the kind of statements they have made if they have no assurance from Ronaldo that he will stay,” said Wenger. “Once a club of their stature say he will stay, he has to stay. If he doesn’t stay you look weak, weaker than if you said nothing at all.”

July 2008

3rd: Ronaldo set for surgery
“Manchester United medical staff met with the medical teams of the Portuguese FA and Cristiano Ronaldo in Lisbon regarding the ongoing treatment of an injury to his right ankle,”
read a statement on United’s official website. “As a result, further specialist advice is being sort and an announcement will be made on any action in due course.”

Pique rejoins Barca
“I am proud and very happy. I would love to retire here,” said Pique. “I don’t regret anything at all. I learnt a lot in Manchester and all I have are compliments, as much for the club as for Alex Ferguson. It was like a second home to me. I went to try my luck, not to show Barca that I was a valuable player and at the end, things worked out and I’m very grateful to return.”

4th: Ronaldo #30
The club deny reports that a deal has been struck. “It is utter nonsense and totally laughable. Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale.”

6th: Ronaldo #31
“Ronaldo has said he would like to play here, that it is a dream, that he would be excited to come to Real Madrid, but it is a desire of the player which can not be carried out without Manchester’s agreement,” said Calderon. “Manchester has to want it. Once they decide to sell him and communicate this, we can say we are talking about a possible transfer. But as of today that is not happening. Theoretically we still have time, there are still two months left until the end of August if Manchester gets in touch with Real Madrid and makes an offer.”

7th: Ronaldo #32
“I think that, first of all, it’s the desire of the player (to join Real), but, of course, Manchester shouldn’t be angry and they should open up their stance,” said Calderon. “We can’t be blamed if nearly every player wants to come to Real Madrid. If I was Manchester United I’d be happy and proud to be able to negotiate such a transfer for one of my players. Everything would be a lot easier if United realised that they could pull off the transfer of the century. It depends on the player, on Ronaldo. Since I’ve known football it has been the case that the desires of the footballer are what decide matters. If Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester, he’ll leave. If he wants to stay, he’ll stay. I don’t think you can keep anyone in a place where they don’t want to be, not even in a family. But I insist that for a formal negotiation to start Manchester United will have to open their doors to us. Manchester have to want to talk.”

Ronaldo #33
“Bet. I would bet,” Calderon told an English newspaper on whether he was confident of signing Ronaldo. “It is up to the player. If he wants to come, then he can join Real Madrid. Manchester United are saying they do not want him to leave and they are not a club who normally sell their best players. But if a player wants to leave it is difficult to keep him. It is the same for me. If I have a player who wants to go somewhere else, we let them go.”

10th: Ronaldo #34
“The important thing is, we should also protect the player,” said FIFA president, Blatter. “If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it’s not good for the player and for the club. I’m always in favour of protecting the player and if the player, he wants to leave, let him leave. I think in football there’s too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere. We are trying now to intervene in such cases. The reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contacts in order to keep the players and then if he wants to leave, then there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract.”

Ronaldo #35
“All our players – like at other clubs – enter into their contracts after an open and free negotiation,” read an official statement from United. “Most of whom do after taking advice from a FIFA-registered agent. Many do so on a number of occasions and enjoy long and successful stays at Old Trafford.

11th: Ronaldo #36
“Last season everyone saw what he did for Manchester United,” said Beckham. “The fans love him and there would be a lot of disappointed people if he did leave Manchester. But obviously, when I left Manchester United the only club I wanted to play for was Real Madrid.”

Queiroz takes Portugal job
“The decision to leave has not been at all easy,” said Queiroz. “These five years in this club have marked me, but to return to Portugal to lead a new project with the national team is something impossible to turn down. United have understood my decision although at the start they wanted to convince me to stay. When I spoke to the directors and with Alex Ferguson they saw that my mind was made up and they accepted my decision. At United I have grown professionally beyond my expectations. I think that it is the best club in the world and I am convinced many coaches would almost pay to hold a post on the coaching team. I would have liked to be United’s manager, but football has so many twists and turns no-one knows what will happen.”

12th: Ronaldo #37
“You are a slave if you work without a contract or you don’t get paid,” said Pele. “If you have a contract then in any job you have to finish the contract. I think that when he finishes his contract, then he should be free to go wherever he wants to go.”

16th: Ronaldo #38
“It would be bad for the squad if one player had a much higher salary than the rest,” said Sneijder. “It would not matter to me, but I know that there are other players that would not like that. But I do not want to say much because every day there is different news. Cristiano is a great player with incredible quality and if he joins Madrid then he will be welcomed.”

18th: Evra charged
“The charges are the result of a thorough investigation conducted by the FA over the past three months. In bringing the charges, the FA used video evidence, CCTV footage and various witness statements from individuals present.”

Ronaldo #39
“The meeting went well – I think we both put across our points of view – where we stand and where the player stands,” said Ferguson, after meeting with Ronaldo. “I can say he’ll be a Manchester United player next season. That’s our stance – he won’t be sold. It’s not a difficult position. I was on my holiday and I was not going to interrupt my holiday, believe me. I wasn’t panicked because the player is under contract so the strength and the rights are with Manchester United. What we have done well is to say nothing. We’ve kept quiet on this matter and kept it private and what I said to Cristiano remains private. I did go and see him last week in Portugal and it was very amicable – there were no problems. That’s where we are and we carry on.”

20th: Ronaldo #40
“I think we’ve been pretty clear all along that Ronaldo has got a contract until 2012, he’s a valuable member of the team and that’s the situation,” said Gill. “Obviously there’s some issues there, but that’s for Alex and is why Alex had the meeting, to discuss things and put our point of view. I’m sure Cristiano put his point of view and hopefully we can move forward. All we were doing, effectively, is saying we clearly have a player who is one of the best in the world. He entered into a new contract, his third with us, only 18 months after his previous one. With that, we believe, go some responsibilities and obligations. There was an increased salary and we clearly feel there has to be some commitment and loyalty and he can’t just say, ‘I’ve entered into it, but I’ll leave a year down the line’, especially after the season we’ve just had. It’s a two-way street and contracts are entered into with a view to getting that kind of commitment.”

Ronaldo #41
“This type (of transfer) is hard,” said Calderon. “But we’re going to go for it all the same. I suppose it’s all about a manner of theirs to let us know clearly that they’re not going to lower the price in any way and that if we want him we have to pay a lot more money.”

Ronaldo #42
“I’ve had hundreds of questions about Manchester United and Real Madrid,” Ronaldo said. “What do you want me to say? That I’m going or I’m staying? I don’t know about the future, only God knows it. I can’t say any more. Great players are always hounded by great clubs. It’s a normal situation. There are other great players who are in the market who are good and who other clubs want. I have always been hounded, not only this year. It’s not strange for me, to see what happens.”

21st: Ronaldo #43
“If you were asked for advice by your son, you would give him the best advice and the worst thing Ronaldo could do at the age of 23 is to go to Real Madrid,” said Ferguson. “He is at the right club and a fantastic football club and the future is that he has signed a five-year contract and has four years left. That’s definite because I have seen his signature. In the modern-day, young lads can be twisted by the talk of money, but if you saw Ronaldo after the UEFA Champions League final, he was the happiest boy in the world. I genuinely believe that I know what the best club in the world is for him and that is Manchester United. When you have young players, you want the best for them and you want to do the best for them.”

22nd: Ronaldo #44
“Ronaldo was the kind of player you know for sure you cannot get,” said Mourinho. “I always try to be objective, I always try to be realistic and I never ask a club to try something that I know is impossible. But it depends on the club, it depends on the situation. For example, Arsenal sold Thierry Henry to Barcelona. Would they sell Thierry Henry to Chelsea? No, no, no I don’t think so. So I think you have to be realistic, and Ronaldo was never in my mind, far from it.”

Ronaldo #45
“We made it clear to them [Real Madrid] from day one we wouldn’t welcome a bid, it wouldn’t be accepted and therefore I don’t think there is not much point in putting one in,” Gill said. “That’s where we are at with the situation. Obviously there has been lots of paper talk and a lot of coverage in the media about it and we understand that. But the reality of it is we have been very firm from day one. Straight after the Champions League final, if you wind back the clock to say Cristiano is a great player, a great asset of Manchester United, he is on a long-term contract with Manchester United and hence we will keep him at the club.”

23rd: Ronaldo #46
“I see no reason why he would cause problems,” said Raul. “I think it could be very positive because we have a great squad, with a lot of big players and it is obvious that if a player of a very high level joined he would be welcome and helped to adapt.”

Ronaldo #47
“Real Madrid need good players and Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player you can bring in right now,” Guti said. “We would be delighted to have him. He wouldn’t upset the good atmosphere, and anyway people tell me he’s a great person and a good team player.”

24th: Ronaldo #48
“It is the player and the club who are talking about a possible problem, we are unconnected to all that,” said Calderon. “We can’t talk about footballers who aren’t ours. I’ve already said several times that we have a very complete squad, who have just won the Primera Liga. We built a great team last year. If we finally make some signings, they would be few but very good.”

25th: Ronaldo #49
“It’s normal he wants to come. If he comes to Madrid he’ll be welcomed by everyone,” Pepe said. “The directors, players and fans welcome you here – Cristiano won’t have a problem. He has said many times that he likes Madrid. He knows the great history of Madrid and the club that it is.”

26th: Tevez deal
“We have spoken to Carlos and see him as part of our long-term squad,” said Gill. “We have been pleased with his first season. He is a good age – a great player and well liked within the team. We know what we have to do and what we have to pay. The only issue is that we would have to sort out a long-term contract for him. But it’s not a problem – we can do it in September, October, November or December.”

27th: Ronaldo #50
“As you all know at this club we have been obsessed with signing a player whose name I can’t quite remember at the moment,” said Schuster. “When you start something like this you know that if you don’t sort it out quickly then it might be too late to sign another player. We have had plans in place for several months ready for any movement, for any solution, but the truth is that as time passes you are running the risk that Plan B might have become a little difficult. They tell me he is a team player and he has proved that at Manchester. I don’t think he would have any problems in adapting to play with us. I’m absolutely certain that if I was in his (Ferguson’s) position I would do exactly the same.”

28th: Ronaldo #51
“As all the world knows, we are interested in signing a player like Ronaldo,” said Schuster. “But it seems as if he won’t finish deciding, and all the rest depends on that. If this doesn’t work out we have other alternatives, but everything depends on how it finishes with Cristiano Ronaldo.”

29th: Ronaldo #52
“Either Cristiano Ronaldo comes or nobody does,” Calderon said.

Ronaldo #53
“Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world right now,” Cantona said. “He is a genuine artist. His style of play fits Manchester United’s very well, and the reverse is also true. It is pleasing to see such harmony. As for him wanting to join Real Madrid, I don’t really know his personality. Maybe he has valid reasons that drive him to leave United. He is still young, and so maybe he wants to take on fresh challenges. I can understand if this is the reason why he wants to leave for Real. But if he were to leave because of something else, I think he would be doing something absolutely stupid.”

30th: Ronaldo #54
“Look, this (the Ronaldo saga) is a problem that wasn’t created by Real Madrid,” said Calderon. “Madrid are just spectators in this soap opera. At the moment Manchester United and the player are in an argument and Madrid are waiting, and we can’t do any more for the time being. Obviously, it’s clear that we want Cristiano with the quality that he has. But there is a contractual problem that United and the player have to resolve, not us. Will he persuade the club to let him go? I can’t say that. That question’s for the player, who has publicly said his dream is to play for Madrid. We hear those words with pride and satisfaction, but his departure doesn’t only depend on Cristiano. United are the ones that have to sort it out and it will either happen or not.”

Ronaldo #55
“There is a bit of a lack of respect because a team is not made of one player – however good he is,” said Pepe. “Pele and Maradona won games but they had the help of their team-mates. We are a bit tired with this issue but we know that if Cristiano comes he will help us and we will help him to adapt into the dressing room.”