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Allardyce: United Must Keep Ronaldo

He didn't score for a change, but Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo crafted three of United's four goals at Old Trafford on Saturday, guiding the Premiership leader to an easy 4-1 win over fifth-place Bolton Wanderers. The 22-year-old Portuguese's performance was further proof that he, without a doubt, is the difference in Man United's title challenge this year against Chelsea, the runaway winner over the last two seasons.

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce certainly knows that. After a game that was punctuated by Ronaldo's dominance of the left side of midfield, Allardyce fired a warning to United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "He's a player that United can't afford to lose -- it's that simple. Whatever it takes to keep Ronaldo, you've got to do it, in the hope that he wants to stay."

Those last few words being the key. Even if United doesn't sew up the Premiership title, Ronaldo would still have his pick of Europe's biggest clubs. At the beginning of last season, he said he wanted to leave; recently he admitted to being flattered by the interest of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Responding to rumors that Ronaldo's future could lay elsewhere, Allardyce said, "Real Madrid are not the club for him. At this moment in time, Manchester United are. That's because there is no development at Real, only decline." After all, Man United is in serious contention for three major trophies. Real Madrid has only a distant hope of winning the La Liga title this year.

Read the whole story at Independent »

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