Brazilian icon Ronaldo and his international teammate Kaka are at the heart of a bizarre tug of war between Real Madrid and AC Milan.
Madrid coach Fabio Capello had claimed on Tuesday that Ronaldo would be going nowhere despite continued press speculation in Spain and Italy that he will be swapped for Milan's Kaka.
Capello said he was interested in acquiring Kaka but his president Ramon Calderon later came out on Cadena Ser radio to claim a swap deal was possible.
"Swapping Ronaldo for Kaka would not be a bad idea," said Calderon.
However, that stance contrasted sharply with his coach's position.
"Ronaldo is a great player who interests every team but who wants to stay (at Real)," said Capello, the former Juventus coach.
"He is important for us because (Ruud) van Nistelrooy is the only other centre forward that we have while waiting for Ronaldo."
The Brazilian is currently recovering from a minor operation he underwent after the World Cup.
Van Nistelrooy joined the club last month from Manchester United in a 15 million euros (19 million dollars) deal after a public spat with Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
But despite boasting attacking talent such as Italian Antonio Cassano and Brazilian pair Robinho and Julio Baptista, the Dutch 30-year-old is the only out-and-out forward at the club other than 'El Gordo', as Ronaldo is known in the Spanish capital.
Having added Mali international midfielder Mahamadou Diarra from French champions Lyon this week, to bring his close season recruitment drive - which included former Juventus pair Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson - to four players, Capello has not given up hope of signing Kaka as well.
"Kaka is one of those rare players who can make the difference and for us he is a priority. But if he is not for sale, we cannot buy him."
But after qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League, by knocking out Red Star Belgrade over two legs, Milan complicated matters by claiming they wanted to sign Ronaldo.
"Adriano Galliani (Milan's vice president) is satisfied with the qualification for the Champions League and has officially approached Real Madrid to see if it is possible to acquire the Brazilian Ronaldo," said a club statement.
Galliani, when asked if he would be trying to sign the three-time World Player of the Year, added: "It's possible, we'll see."
Ronaldo himself had alluded several times last season that he would not remain in the Spanish capital after the end of that campaign after often becoming the target for the fans' wrath during inept team displays.
Milan are not the only team interested in the Brazilian, though.
Ronaldo used to play for Milan's city rivals Inter and last week the Inter president Massimo Moratti said: "I respect and like Ronaldo and I would not be happy to see him go to the other Milan team."
However, Inter have already signed Argentine Hernan Crespo from Chelsea and Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Juventus and already have Ronaldo's international strike partner Adriano on their books.