The English and Spanish off-season has kicked off with its now customary opening match: the 'Will Ronaldo Go or Won't He?' Cup.
Now in its third season, this not so friendly charity match, played every year in aid of tabloid footie journalists the length and breath of Grub Street, has saw early scrappy exchanges where Real Madrid - with their wily midfield maestro, Bernd Schuster in the middle of the sporting backpages and defensive bung merchant, Ramon Calderon, grandstanding from the directors box - have sought to unlock Man Utd defences with mind game quotes and judicious off the record briefings to the Madrid press.
Real Madrid's early pressure game has been largely inconsequential but has seen the occasional ricocheted salvo that has reached the back pages of the tabloid press back in England.
News Just In: Seasoned Man Utd warhorse, Alex Ferguson, has scored in the eighth minute with the following 40 yard screamer:
"Real Madrid are not the only club interested in Ronaldo. But the others are not saying so. They don't get into this nonsense.
"Calderon makes that great statement 'slavery was abolished many years ago'. Did they tell General Franco that? Give me a break." [See here for exclusive Pie in the Sky footage.]
Looks like Calderon might be substituted after that early skinning from Fergie. Calderon's mind doesn't seem to be on his game. He keeps looking up at the press box, and seems to be mouthing the words: 'Don't mention the
Spanish Civil War.'
I'll keep you updated with what's going on with the rest of the game. Man Utd now have the upper hand after that early exchange but Real Madrid have been known to come back strongly in such games. There's another eighty minutes to play but if previous matches between these two sides are anything to go by, there'll be eight weeks of injury time.