Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster believes that Cristiano Ronaldo will be wearing the Spanish giants` colours this time next year.
Madrid`s pursuit of Ronaldo this summer was one of the most protracted and high-profile transfer sagas of recent years, but it ultimately ended in disappointment for the Primera Liga champions with the Portugal winger opting to remain at Manchester United.
The 23-year-old has made no secret of his desire to one day play for Madrid though, and Schuster believes a deal could be struck in 2009 for a player he feels should win the Ballon d`Or this year.
I think that next year it is going to be a little more complicated for his club to retain him. There is hope that next year he could be with us,` said Schuster. `You need to do everything possible (to sign Ronaldo) because this player is worth it,` added the German, who felt Madrid had a decent chance of landing Ronaldo this summer.
`Since the start I thought it was possible although difficult. Possible because the player really showed an interest,` he said. `His class, his position on the right wing and in other areas of the pitch, his work in attack..he would have been an important signing. He didn`t come, but this is the team we have here now and we need to have complete faith in them.`
Waiting: Bernd Schuster
Madrid`s summer pursuit of Ronaldo came following a remarkable year of success for the Portuguese ace, who in helping United claim a Premier League and Champions League double struck a remarkable 42 goals.
For Schuster that should result in Ronaldo being rewarded with the Ballon d`Or - the award given to Europe`s top footballer of the year - even though his own goalkeeper at Madrid Iker Casillas is also in the running to win the title.
`I think that this year Cristiano Ronaldo deserves it. He was the leading scorer in Europe with 42 goals, has won the league and Champions League...that should be sufficient,` Schuster said in Marca.
`He didn`t do so well with the national team (at Euro 2008), but this was due to Spain and Germany.
`It`s easy to say that Spaniards Iker and Xavi (should win it), but if you take into account the overall season you see that Cristiano is the one.`