MADRID, Spain, AP
Brazilian ace Ronaldo appears to be the target of soccer powerhouse Real Madrid, with Spanish media reporting Saturday that the World Cup star wants to play for the European Champions.
His club Inter Milan said in a brief statement that Ronaldo’s manager had spoken with representatives of the Spanish club, but that “the minimum conditions to begin to deal with this topic do not exist.”
Spanish sports daily As displayed a big photo of the Brazilian star dressed in the club’s white-clad suit, with the headline: “Ronaldo wants to come.”
Madrid newspaper El Pais also reported that Ronaldo is no longer happy in his present club, Inter Milan, and that he has asked Madrid to sign him.
Real Madrid denied Friday they had approached Ronaldo with a move to signing him, although its sports director Jorge Valdano left the door open for the Brazilian ace to join Madrid should Inter Milan make him available.
Valdano confirmed that he had held talks with Ronaldo’s manager Alexander Martins.
“We heard that Ronaldo wants to leave Inter and I immediately got into contact with the Italian club because we have a very good relationship with them,” Valdano said at a news conference late Friday.
“`We told them (Inter Milan) that we would not approach Ronaldo until they made it clear they wanted to let him go,” Valdano said.
Valdano said the two clubs had, in the past, discussed a potential transfer for the Brazilian striker, whose career has been hampered by injury in recent years.
The 26-year-old Ronaldo staged a brilliant revival in the Japan and South Korea World Cup. He scored both goals for Brazil’s 2-0 win over Germany in the final, and was the tournament’s leading scorer with eight goals.
Valdano made clear that Madrid does not see the Brazilian star as a priority and would not be prepared to pay an enormous sum to bring him to the club’s already star-packed squad.
“At the moment Inter Milan is not prepared to sell and Real Madrid is not prepared to buy,” Valdano said. “Some time ago, when some figures were put on the table, we were so far away we couldn’t even get to 50 percent of 100 million euros (US$97 million).”
In the last two years, Madrid has broken the world’s transfer record twice signing Portuguese international Luis Figo for US$56 million from its archrival Barcelona in 2000 and a year later French midfielder Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for US$65 million.