| Friday, August 2, 2002 22:24 EST
Real Madrid not willing to pay huge sum for Brazilian star
MADRID -- Ronaldo's agent has told Real
Madrid the Brazilian striker is ready to leave Inter Milan, the
Spanish club's sporting director Jorge Valdano revealed on
Valdano played down the chances of Ronaldo joining the
galaxy of stars at the Bernabeu, though, saying Real was only
"relatively" interested in the player, who led Brazil to World
Cup glory by topping the scoring chart with eight goals.
Real would not be prepared to pay an "astronomical" sum to
bring Ronaldo to the Bernabeu, Valdano said, and would not even
consider a bid unless Inter decided it was ready to sell.
"Ronaldo's agent (Alexandre Martins) informed us that the
player's intention is to leave Inter Milan," said Valdano, who
was speaking in response to claims on a Spanish radio station
that Real had signed the World Cup winner.
"I immediately spoke to Inter Milan directors, because we
have a non-aggression pact with their club.
"The agent asked us if Real Madrid could be interested and
what we want to make clear is that we would make no move unless
Inter decided they wanted to sell.
"At the moment Inter Milan are not prepared to sell and Real
Madrid are not prepared to buy.
"Some time ago, when some figures were put on the table, we
were so far away we couldn't even get to 50 percent."
Real president Florentino Perez broke the transfer record
twice in his first two years in charge to bring in Luis Figo for
$56 million from Barcelona and Zinedine Zidane for $66 million
He would likely need to shell out an even greater figure for
the game's biggest name but another high-profile signing is not
such a high priority.
"It's wrong to raise false expectations," Perez told Antena
3 television before Real's preseason friendly against
"Not every player is a priority for us."
Valdano also made that point in his hastily arranged news
"Ronaldo is not part of Real Madrid's strategy," Valdano
said. "Our interest in him is relative. If one day he came on
the market we would analyze the situation.
"He's a great player and Real Madrid are always interested
in great players.
"If an astronomical figure us being talked about Real Madrid
have got nothing to say. If in the future a great opportunity
came up things could be different, though."
Inter poured cold water on a move.
The official website asserted: "The excellent relationship
between Real Madrid and Inter has meant that in the shortest
time the two clubs have been in contact and have immediately
verified that not even the minimal conditions exist to start
Ronaldo has experience of the Spanish game, having played a
season at Real's great rivals Barcelona after moving to the Nou
Camp in 1996 for a then world record $19.5 million.
He scored 33 goals in 38 games that season as Barcelona won
the European Cup Winners' Cup before joining Inter Milan for
another world record fee of $27.9 million.