Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon is playing a waiting game as Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo decides where he wants to play next season.
Although Man. United has been steadfast in its refusal to contemplate selling the Portuguese international, Real has been openly tracking him all summer and the player himself has been equivocal about his future, while dropping strong hints that he fancies a move to the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo hit 42 goals for United last season as it lifted both the Barclays Premier League crown and the European Cup, but he has refused to issue a categorical statement committing himself to the remainder of his Old Trafford contract.
That has fueled Real Madrid's aspirations of signing him, although Calderon, sensitive to criticism of his club's transfer tactics, is being circumspect in his comments, dropping broad hints while trying to avoid anything too provocative.
In his latest remarks on the situation, Calderon told Spanish sports daily AS: "Look, this is a problem that wasn't created by Real Madrid. That which is exaggerated or not about this signing is down to those who've given it as read that the deal is closed and not by us. Madrid are just spectators in this soap opera. At the moment, Manchester United and the player are in an argument and Madrid is waiting ... and we can't do any more for the time being.
"Obviously, it's clear that we want Cristiano with the quality that he has," he continued. "But there is a contractual problem that United and the player have to resolve, not us. Will he persuade the club to let him go? I can't say that. That question's for the player, who has publicly said his dream is to play for Madrid.
"We hear those words with pride and satisfaction, but his departure doesn't only depend on Cristiano. United are the ones that have to sort it out and it will either happen or not."
Ronaldo himself is currently recovering from ankle surgery in the U.S., and Calderon feels that when he eventually returns to Manchester the issue of a transfer -- or not -- will be resolved.
"It could happen then, but it's true that we have to wait developments," he added. Everyone's thinking so much about this matter that people can get confused and I understand that they're fed up. [United and Ronaldo] will talk next week and if after this conversation United decides to sell him, then of course Madrid will be there."
United officially complained about Real's behavior to FIFA, which sided with the Spanish giants, and Calderon insists Los Merengues have done nothing wrong.
"I would like to remind everyone that Madrid didn't generate this expectation but the player himself. The club has been respectful," he told AS. "[Wanting to sign him] is a natural and logical desire, equal to that of Chelsea wanting Robinho and Casillas, or United wanting Sergio Ramos. We didn't blow this all up. The club at which I'm president sleeps with a clear conscience."
As for the financing of the possible purchase of Ronaldo, Calderon dismissed the idea that Robinho would have to be sold to fund it, explaining: "The coaches believe [Ronaldo and Robinho] are compatible and Madrid doesn't need to raise funds to buy. To sign Cristiano we don't need to sell anyone and even less so Robinho. It's not like that at all.
"I don't have any reason to think that Robinho is unhappy," he continued. "Schuster adores him, his teammates want him and last year he was very happy at the Bernabeu. If he wasn't happy and wanted to leave we wouldn't fight to change his mind. But I don't think that's the case. It's absurd to plan someone's transfer if they're happy and I firmly believe that."
Calderon also rubbished the idea that Ronaldo's motivation for joining Real would be purely mercenary. "Look," he said, "when a footballer leaves a big club it's not for the money. They leave because they're not happy with what's around them, the sporting project, their family life, the coach and his decisions. In that case it's better to let them leave. I don't want a single player in my Madrid who's unhappy. But we have the good fortune that in this Madrid the 25 we have are happy."