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Ronaldo rumors rankle Real's ranks
by Joe Addison, July 30th, 2008 7:01AM
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[TRANSFER TALK] The Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga has been going on since Manchester United's Champions League victory on May 21, and 10 weeks later it remains unresolved. Now the uncertainty over the winger's transfer is affecting the Real Madrid players, who have grown frustrated with the ubiquity of the Ronaldo rumors.

Earlier in the summer, Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder displayed his frustration with the situation.

"It'd be bad for the dressing room," said Sneijder, "because he would earn better wages than the rest of the squad. It wouldn't be a problem to me, but some teammates wouldn't fancy it. Right now nobody can say anything because speaking well about him shows a lack of respect to the players we have and Real Madrid have talented ones."

Real Madrid defender Pepe has also tried to put distance between the Real Madrid locker room and his international teammate.

"There is a little disrespect going on because a team does not rely on one player, even if he is very good," he said. "Pele and [Diego] Maradona won major games, but they had help from their peers."

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster recently signaled that the club is attempting to move on and pursue other players in the transfer market.

"I'm calm because long ago the club had an obsession with bringing in a player, although I can't remember his name," he joked. "I'm not worried because I'm working here with a squad that's had a year to train together.

But Schuster may not be laughing at Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon's recent comments about Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals last season for United. The tireless Calderon put it simply, "Either Cristiano Ronaldo comes or nobody does."

Schuster is reportedly interested in bringing Hamburger playmaker Rafael van der Vaart to the Spanish capital. Madrid has also been linked with Valencia striker David Villa, the leading goalscorer at Euro 2008.

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