As deadline nears, fate over Ronaldo still uncertainPosted: Saturday August 31, 2002 11:12 AM
MILAN, Italy (AP) -- The fate over Brazilian superstar Ronaldo remained uncertain Saturday, with talks between Inter and Real Madrid continuing after collapsing a day earlier and media reports that the deal was done.
Ronaldo showed up at Inter's Milan headquarters but made no comments to reporters camped outside.
Speculation that an agreement had been reached mounted -- particularly with reports in the Italian media that Argentine striker Hernan Crespo was heading to Inter from Lazio to replace the Brazilian star.
Late Friday, Inter had announced that talks to transfer the World Cup leading scorer to Spain had fumbled over money and other issues.
Inter president Massimo Moratti had held out the possibility that a last ditch agreement could be reached before Saturday's transfer deadline.
"It seems impossible that something will emerge, but there are always miracles," he was quoted as saying late Friday by the Italian news agency ANSA.
Just a few hours earlier, a Spanish television station had said an agreement had been reached on Ronaldo's transfer to Real Madrid for 20 million euros ($19.6 million) and in exchange for two players.
Antena 3 said Moretti and Madrid president Florentino Perez reached a deal in Monte Carlo that envisioned the transfer of Spanish international striker Fernando Morientes and forward Pedro Munitis.
Italian news reports said Moretti had rejected the offer, which it put at 37 million euros and Munitis, and headed home to Milan.
Moratti wouldn't confirm details, but said the two clubs were extremely close before talks collapsed.
Moretti had said earlier that Ronaldo's fate would be known by Friday -- fueling speculation that the striker's collapsed move to Real Madrid could be revived.
The deal appeared dead and buried after the Spanish powerhouse's offer early last week to swap two of its players for Ronaldo was rejected by Inter Milan.
Madrid aimed to include Spanish international striker Fernando Morientes and Brazilian international Flavio Conceicao in a no-cash deal for the Italian club's famed striker.
Milan was said to prefer Argentine international midfielder Santiago Solari in a player plus cash deal worth some 70 million euros (dlrs 68.5 million).
Ronaldo, who has yet to be selected for Inter this season, returned from long-term injury this summer to emerge as the World Cup's leading scorer with eight goals and lead Brazil to its fifth world title.