Everyone’s favourite Spanish journalist, Guillem Balague, has come out with quite a bold claim today: that “Cristiano Ronaldo, in conjunction with his agent, Jorge Mendes, has reached an agreement with Ramon Calderon, to sign for Real Madrid in the summer”.

It’s reported on GuillemBalague.com (it went up at midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning), and was the frontpage story in Spanish sports ‘paper Diario AS, for whom Balague writes, on Tuesday.

I’d recommend reading it all (links here and here), but it’s pretty self explanatory. Ronaldo wants to play for Real Madrid in 2009/10, and has agreed with Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon to do so. He would be paid €12million a year.

It’s easy to get sceptical about transfer rumours (and rightly so) but what’s striking about this is the lack of ambiguity or equivocation. There’s no ‘I understand’, no ‘sources have suggested’, no ‘reports indicate’. It’s reported as fact. Balague may well get as much wrong as he gets right (I’m still waiting for Manuel Pellegrini to take the Newcastle job), but when it’s Iberian players in England he tends to be on the money.

The stumbling block, of course, remains the same as last time: the refusal of Sir Alex Ferguson to let the world’s best player leave against his will. And given his recent comments on an alleged deal – ‘I wouldn’t sell them [Real Madrid] a virus’ – we can expect another summer of rumour and attrition.