Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to dismiss the rumours, originating in Spain, that Real Madrid had already struck a deal with United for Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer. His exact words were “I wouldn’t sell them a virus.”

Gary Neville, who is currently with the team in Japan, has accused Real Madrid of being disrespectful.

“There should be a level of respect between clubs,” said Neville. “But there is nothing we can do. The speculation will always be there and as a player there is nothing you can do, but I do know Manchester United have never sold a player they wanted to keep, and they want to keep Ronaldo.”

Ronaldo has responded to the rumours in a pleasing manner though, claiming he is happy at the club and isn’t arsed about what other people have to say about it.

“I don’t care what people are saying,” said Ronaldo. “I have not read it. I am here in Japan and I know nothing about what is going on around me. But I am very happy playing for Manchester United.”