Manchester United: Ronaldo fee starts to disappear
Manchester United have begun spending the US$130 million transfer fee secured from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, has completed his first signing of the summer with the acquisition of winger Antonio Valencia from Wigan Athletic. Valencia, who has cost United US$26 million, is unlikely to provide the goals to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, but Steve Bruce, his former manager at Wigan and a defender at Manchester United in his playing days, was quick to compliment him on his move. "He is a wonderful player and I cannot speak highly enough of him," said Bruce. "Forget the Ronaldo's heir business and let the fans and United team-mates judge him as a player in his own right. If they do that they won't be disappointed."
Valencia is, though, far from the high-profile player pundits might have predicted United would look to in the aftermath of Ronaldo's departure. One man more in that role is Karim Benzema, the Lyon and France striker, who has been widely tipped to follow Valencia to Old Trafford - even by his own teammates.
"Benzema is nearly gone to Old Trafford," said Lyon attacking midfielder Miralem Pjanic on Tuesday. "The English club are willing to pay €45 million (US$63 million) for him and it is just a question of the day when he will move to England. He does not have anything against going to Manchester."
Benzema has voiced doubts in the past about moving to England, citing the weather as a major factor, and insisting he would prefer a move to Spain or Italy. He appears to have put those concerns behind him, and his club has backed down on its previous stance that he would not be sold under any circumstances.
"We know his importance at Olympique Lyonnais and his efficiency in our squad," said Lyon coach Claude Puel. "He's an exceptional player, but we also know the financial figures of the club. We will evaluate the situation with him when he comes back - July 2 - and we'll listen to him. If he has any dreams of leaving we will discuss them with him if there are any concrete offers, which is not the case at the moment."
Double deal agreed for Spanish soccer rights - 15 June 2009
Ronaldo endorses lubricants giant - 19 April 2009
MUST announce deal with Sharp - 04 November 2010
FC United’s stadium plans approved - 29 November 2010
Manchester United take full ownership of MUTV - 22 January 2013
Related blog posts
Ronaldo to replace Beckham at top of tree - 19 May 2009, Notes & Insights
Ronaldo appeal will see Liverpool and Manchester United records eclipsed - 25 September 2009, Notes & Insights
Manchester United deal unaffected by Ronaldo sale - 15 June 2009, Notes & Insights
Premier League preview: Manchester United still number one - 10 August 2011, Notes & Insights