Manchester United are being linked with Cristiano Ronaldo again. We say again, because this rumour seems to do the rounds every single year. But the situation has moved forward since April, when it emerged ‘discussions at the highest level’ had taken place regarding a blockbuster return to Old Trafford.
Manchester United saw Ronaldo dazzle during his six years at the club.
Signed as a teenager as David Beckham’s replacement in 2003, he set pulses racing with an electric debut performance against Bolton.
And Ronaldo then never looked back, propelling the club to three straight Premier League titles as well as the Champions League crown in 2008.
Now, talk of a return is gathering pace.
Juventus want Ronaldo gone, determined to offload the 36-year-old as they look to balance the books in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
And the Portugal international himself already appears to have said his goodbyes, thanking everybody at the club for their hard work at the club over the past three years.
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Ronaldo returning to United has always seemed rather fanciful.
Yet the stars seem to be aligning and, since The Sun reported in April that there had been ‘discussions at the highest level’ about a possible return.
It’s emerged that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer himself is open to the idea of the 36-year-old returning, considering him to be his greatest team-mate of all time.
Solskjaer spent four years playing alongside the Portugal international prior to his retirement in 2007, winning the league title together that season.
And the Norwegian also mentored him off the field while taking his coaching badges, helping to mould Ronaldo into the prolific goalscorer he is today.
Then there’s the Glazer factor.
United re-signing Ronaldo would tick many boxes for the Americans, who need to get fans back on side in the wake of the European Super League debacle.
And the player himself has never shut the door on a stunning return to Manchester.
Three years ago, when asked about potentially returning to United ahead of a Champions League tie, Ronaldo admitted ‘nothing was impossible’.
“Nothing is impossible,” he said.
In another interview, published around the same time, Ronaldo also praised United fans for not booing him – unlike Real Madrid’s supporters.
“I don’t like it and it’s not normal that they whistle you in your own stadium. I just don’t like it,” he said.
“It’s not correct. And when you are on a difficult run that is when you need extra support from outside not less. Sometimes we don’t have it.
“I spent a lot of years at Manchester United and it never happened to me. Not even once. Maybe England is a case apart – the mentality is different.”
And, even further back, Ronaldo admitted it was the club of his heart.
“I love Manchester,” he said.
“Everyone knows that. Manchester is in my heart.
“The supporters are amazing and I wish I can come back one day.”
Now, that dream could be about to become a reality.
And while some United fans may be dismissive of the idea, the situation accelerating suggests now may be the time.