By James Neel

When it comes to attracting, developing and retaining talent, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson can show the business world exactly how it should be done.[atag018]

OK — as an owner of a small business you are unlikely to have the same huge financial resources — but it can’t be just the money!

A player such as Ronaldo would be welcome at any of the big european clubs and I’m sure that many of them have been waving their cheque books.

The statement announcing this coup gives us a number of clues as to the relationship between manager and star performer:

“Manchester United is delighted to announce that it has agreed terms with Cristiano Ronaldo on a new five-year contract keeping him at the club until at least June 2012.

Sir Alex Ferguson said: “It is fantastic news, it emphasises the point that Cristiano is happy here and that he is at the right club.

“He has a great relationship with the team, staff and the fans and he will go on to be one of Manchester United’s great players.”

Cristiano added: “I am delighted. I spoke with Sir Alex and David Gill about my future and everyone knew that I wanted to stay.

“I am very happy at the club. I want to win trophies and hopefully we’ll do that this season.”

Sir Alex is a past master at the art of good talent management and the lessons for us mere mortals at the SME coalface are:

1. Create a winning atmosphere
2. Ensure an open and honest dialogue
3. Mix home grown talent with ‘big-signings’
4. Give your talent the tools to do the job properly
5. Surround talent with talent

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