Blatter welcomes Ronaldo transfer

JOHANESBURG - FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Friday dismissed concerns over Real Madrid's world record offer for Cristiano Ronaldo, saying it demonstrated the game's enduring popularity. Blatter has in the past spoken out about the huge sums of money in the game. But he told a news conference in Johannesburg he saw nothing wrong with the 24-year-old FIFA World Player of the Year's proposed 80 million-pound move from Manchester United, which is still to be finalised. UEFA President Michel Platini said on Thursday the bid for the Portuguese winger was excessive when football was facing severe challenges during a global recession. Other sports officials also criticised the amount. But Blatter said: "What does 80 million mean when 10 years ago another player with the same name (Ronaldo of Brazil) moved from one club to another for 50 million dollars?. "It means that there is still a demand to have the stars." Blatter added: "We are in a very sensitive market, in an economic crisis, but football remains a fantastic product, not just to buy or sell but a product that gives people what they want -- emotions. They want the stars. "Ten years ago a painting from Picasso's Blue Period was sold by Sothebys in London for over 100 million. And what happened to the painting? "They hid it somewhere so no-one could take it away. Nobody can see it. But you can see a football player once or twice a week, he is there, he is a star. "You might say it is too much, but you have to put it in context of what football in our society is worth and what other things in our society are worth."