United accept Ronaldo bid
United confirmed this morning they had accepted an £80million bid for the world player of the year, with a world-record deal expected to go through by 30 June.
The news had been expected given Real stated last night talks were under way and now it is only a matter of finalising the player's personal terms before he completes a dream move to the Bernabeu.
Real president Florentino Perez had already vowed to do "everything possible" to sign the 24-year-old and, unlike 12 months ago, Sir Alex Ferguson did not even attempt to talk Ronaldo round, knowing the former Sporting Lisbon player had his heart set on a move.
A United statement read: "At the request of Cristiano - who has again expressed his desire to leave - and after discussion with the player's representatives, United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player.
"Matters are expected to be concluded by 30 June. The club will not comment until further notice."
The news is bound to be greeted with some scepticism by United fans, who have repeatedly been told no deal had been agreed for the sale of FIFA's World Player of the Year in the face of regular statements from Spain the former Sporting Lisbon star was bound for the Bernabeu.
It was even suggested Ronaldo would be due a £20million compensation fee from Real if the deal did not go through by June 30, the date United now state themselves as when they expect matters to be concluded.
As it now seems a matter of when, rather than if, a world-record transfer will be completed, Ferguson might wish to explain why he has gone back on his famous comment in December last year that he would not "sell that mob a virus".
It is the first time for many years United will have allowed a player to leave they were not happy about losing. Yet some supporters may be pleased that at least another drawn-out transfer saga, such as the one 12 months ago, is not played out in public.
And at least the money could be reinvested in a squad that almost, but not quite, proved good enough to win back-to-back UEFA Champions League trophies, in addition to a hat-trick of Premier League titles.
And, in reshaping a squad that looks almost certain to lose Carlos Tevez as well, Ferguson might be able to offer Wayne Rooney a more permanent central striking role and fulfil the promise he has shown on the international stage this season.
The name of Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery is bound to crop up as a potential replacement, although the 27-year-old seems hugely overpriced at the £40million figure being bandied about in some quarters, with Wigan's Antonio Valencia also in the frame.
Ferguson will certainly be making plans already to ensure his new faces are on board before United head to Asia for their pre-season tour five weeks from today.
Amid the frenzy over Ronaldo's impending departure, it is bound to be asked whether the current debt hanging over United of almost £700million has played any part in the decision to accept Real's huge bid.
Madrid confirmed the news in a brief statement on their website, adding that they hoped to finalise matters as soon as possible.
"Real Madrid confirm they have made an offer to Manchester United for the acquisition of the rights of the player Cristiano Ronaldo. The club hope to reach an agreement with the player in the next few days."
Ronaldo has long been a target for the Spanish giants, whose president Florentino Perez vowed earlier this week to do "everything possible" to take the 24-year-old to the Bernabeu.