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Manchester United warns Real Madrid to stay away from its players

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United on Friday as club manager Alex Ferguson said he wants to extend the Portugal winger's contract and warned Real Madrid to stay away from his players.

After extracting a pledge of loyalty from Ronaldo for the coming season, Ferguson suggested it was a matter of personal pride not losing his prized asset to the Spanish champion.

"I can't deny it was an important issue - there are very few players who left me against my will," Ferguson said Friday. "(Madrid) now know they are dealing with a different animal and Cristiano will settle down and enjoy his career here.

"He has got four years left on his contract and at some point hopefully we would like to extend it."

Ronaldo, who is due to be out until October after ankle surgery, returned to United's training ground Friday for the first time since winning the Champions League in May.

Ronaldo spending the summer hinting at a desire to join Real Madrid, but Ferguson adamantly refused to sell his most prized asset, scorer of 42 goals last season.

Ronaldo finally conceded defeat Wednesday in his quest to move to the Spanish champion - for the coming season at least.

"We're happy he has explained himself perfectly from my perspective and the matter is closed, he is a Manchester United player," Ferguson said. "The player is happy to be a Manchester United player, he has always been happy to be here. It's just the unfortunate participation of Real Madrid in the boy's life has made it difficult for him.

"The important thing is we ended all this stuff about Real Madrid. As he gets older he will appreciate being here more and more because that happens with players the longer they stay here and they don't ever want to leave."

Ronaldo said he thought the world record-breaking transfer fee offered by Real Madrid and rejected by United would have been fair compensation for his departure. The 23-year-old also said he wanted to live closer to his family.

But Ferguson told him that London-raised defender Rio Ferdinand was an example of a player who gradually adapted to a different culture in northern England.

"He's now a real Manchester United person and he comes from another country - he comes from London, he comes from a different world," Ferguson said. "It's not very different leaving London, leaving Portugal to live in Manchester. He came north to a colder climate, a wetter climate, but to a real football city."

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