Vieira: Ronaldo row won't distract Madrid
Manchester City’s Football Development Executive Patrick Vieira believes Real Madrid will not be distracted by the uncertainty over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future when the two teams meet in the Champions League next week.
Tuesday’s much awaited Group D opener will be Madrid’s first match at the Bernabeu since Ronaldo invited fevered speculation by declaring he was “unhappy” at the club in the wake of a 3-0 win over Granada on September 2.
Though he maintains he remains focused on doing his best for the club and adding to his 150 goals in 149 games, Ronaldo has still not resolved the as yet unidentified “professional issue” that has caused him to publicly voice his discontent with life in the Spanish capital.
The forward returned to Madrid on Wednesday following the international break and the cause of his malaise is still unclear, with some reports citing a falling out with team-mates and others interpreting his “sadness” as a ploy to win a more lucrative contract.
Whatever the cause, Vieira expects Ronaldo to leave his problems off the field when Madrid welcome City for a meeting of the English and Spanish league champions.
“I think this is an internal problem, if I can call that a problem,” Vieira told Yahoo!-Eurosport. “Overall I don't think that it will affect their concentration for the Champions League.
“Will it play into Manchester City's hands? Not at all. Madrid, Jose Mourinho and Ronaldo will get their focus back and will want to win the first game because the first game is always important in the Champions League.”
City are one of the few clubs who could afford to sign Ronaldo should he indeed seek to leave Madrid.
However, Vieira was unwilling to speculate over whether the Portugal star could be a transfer target for the club.
When asked if the unsettled player was a player of interest, the Frenchman said: “Ronaldo? I think I am the wrong person to answer that question.”
Patrick is an ambassador for Western Union's new PASS initiative, turning every pass in this season's UEFA Europa League into funding for one day's education for young people around the world.