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Blatter says he was misquoted

Blatter last month called on the English club to release the Portuguese player if he wanted to join Real Madrid, rather than hold him against his will.

sports Updated: Aug 01, 2008 18:09 IST

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said today he was misquoted in media reports citing him as calling Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo a "slave."

Blatter last month called on the English club to release the Portuguese player if he wanted to join Real Madrid, rather than hold him against his will.

"I have never said that Ronaldo is a slave," Blatter said during a Vietnam visit, where he was inaugurating part of a youth football training ground.

"What I said is slavery is with the young people -- youngsters that European clubs are trying to get, 13, 14 and 15 year old young boys -- and bring them to the big clubs. This is my expression, this is modern slavery.

I have never mentioned that for Ronaldo. But the press... they have distorted it. Ronaldo is not a slave."

He added that FIFA would not play a role in any dispute over Ronaldo.

"Let them work in peace now," Blatter said. "Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United and Real Madrid, they can solve this problem. For the time being, we have nothing to say."

Blatter also again stressed that clubs should release under-23 footballers to play in the Olympics, in line with FIFA rules.