United criticizes Madrid, Barcelona over Ronaldo

`CHEESED OFF': The Red Devils boss wasn't happy about the attention the Spanish clubs have shown in the Portuguese winger while he is under contract

AP , BARCELONA, SPAIN

Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 20

Manchester United director Bobby Charlton has criticized Real Madrid and FC Barcelona for expressing an interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Anybody associated with Manchester United would be a little bit perturbed when a few months before the end of a very important season someone starts to make claims for him. I don't think it's correct," Charlton said at the Laureus sports awards in Barcelona on Monday night.

Madrid president Ramon Calderon said last week he was interested in signing Ronaldo at the end of the season.

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain was photographed in February while sitting next to Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, at Portugal's friendly with Brazil in London.

Begiristain said recently that his club wouldn't make a move for the 22-year-old winger unless any of its forwards left during the offseason.

"Ronaldo is our player and while he's under contract to us I don't think it's anybody's right to come and start the process of trying to change him into being one of their players," said Charlton, who is regarded as one of United's greatest players.

"That is not the way to do business," he said.

"We get cheesed off with it when we've got players under contract who are very happy with what they're doing and where they are," he said.

United recently opened talks with Ronaldo on extending his contract until 2012.

Ronaldo has scored 18 goals this season to help the Red Devils to the top of the Premier League. United is also challenging for the Champions League and the FA Cup.