Ronaldo will stay at Real but Danilo goes to City

LOS ANGELES • Cristiano Ronaldo will remain a Real Madrid player for "the next two to three years", coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday, ending talk that the Portuguese superstar might return to Manchester United.

On the eve of Real's pre-season friendly against United at Santa Clara, California, Zidane spoke in Los Angeles about the 32-year-old forward, who arrived in 2009 and who is currently on vacation after travelling to Singapore on Friday to meet Valencia owner Peter Lim on a casual visit.

"There has been a lot of talk surrounding Cristiano, that he wanted to go," the Frenchman acknowledged. "I only believe in one thing - whenever I've spoken to him, he has been very relaxed.

"He's on holiday and he will be back with us on the fifth (of August). I listen, just like everyone else, but the only thing I'm concerned with is what he wants to do with Real Madrid.

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"I think he'll stay for the next two or three years he's got left with us."

Real will play US tune-up matches on Wednesday against Manchester City at Los Angeles and on Saturday against bitter rivals Barcelona in Miami before next month's scheduled return for Ronaldo, who has a contract that runs till 2021.

After Real's title runs in LaLiga and the Champions League, Zidane is confident his club will be ready when the time comes to defend those crowns.

"We know what we achieved was incredible and now there are trophies to be played for already on the eighth and we're preparing for that date to start in the best possible fashion," he said in reference to the European Super Cup clash, also against United, in Skopje, Macedonia on Aug 8.

However, the Real coach also confirmed on Saturday that right-back Danilo would be leaving the club, with City announcing the signing of the Brazilian yesterday.

The 26-year-old has inked a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club said.

"I am very, very happy to be joining Manchester City," he told City's website.

"There has been strong interest from other clubs, but it has always been my ambition to play for Pep Guardiola. As soon as I heard of his interest, I knew immediately I wanted to be a City player."

British media reports claimed Danilo joined City for a fee of around £26 million (S$46 million), making him Guardiola's second major defensive signing in this transfer window following Kyle Walker's £54 million arrival from Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'Ronaldo will stay at Real but Danilo goes to City'. Print Edition | Subscribe