Cristiano Ronaldo wiil return to Manchester United with no new contract and no compromise deal allowing him to leave in the near future in return for his loyalty now.
United chief executive David Gill has revealed the total success of the club's uncompromising stance over the Portuguese star and manager Sir Alex Ferguson's own brand of hardball diplomacy.
Asked whether Ronaldo, the subject of three months of speculation over his future, had been promised a departure from Old Trafford as a condition of his remaining at United for another season, Gill's reply was a terse...
He also indicated that the stand taken over the player and Real Madrid's pursuit of him had the full backing of the club's American owners, the Glazer family.
After a no-holds-barred confrontation between Ronaldo and Ferguson in Lisbon last week, the player has been told he must honour the five-year, £120,000-a-week agreement he signed last year. Ferguson was so incensed by Ronaldo's comments about slavery that he cancelled a planned meeting with the player and his agent Jorge Mendes.
Mendes then spent most of the day pleading with the United boss, who relented and met them in the Portuguese capital last Monday. It was the only time Ferguson entered the controversy and it proved decisive, as Gill revealed.
"Ronaldo has got a contract that lasts until 2012, he's a valuable member of the team and that's the situation," said Gill. "Obviously there are some issues there, but that's for Alex and it's why Alex had the meeting with the player; to discuss things and put his point of view and hopefully we can move forward. But without doubt, there could have been clarity earlier on, shall we say.
"All we were doing, effectively, is saying we clearly have a player who is one of the best in the world. He entered into a new contract, which is his third contract with us and was only signed 15 to 18 months after his previous contract. He did this freely of his own will in April 2007.
"It was a long-term contract and with that, we believe, go some responsibilities and obligations. There was an increased salary within it and we clearly feel there was to be some commitment and loyalty and he can't just say 'I've entered into it, but I'll leave a year down the line'. It's a two-way street and contracts are entered into with a view to getting that kind of commitment."
Gill was unequivocal about reports that Ronaldo would be offered an improved deal.
"There will be no new contract," he said. "He only entered into the previous contract 18 months before and in terms of wage hierarchy, he's doing pretty well.
"It was suggested that Ronaldo's aim was a new deal, but I don't think it was necessarily that and if the figures bandied about that Real Madrid are talking about are true, we wouldn't go anywhere near that. That would be lunacy."