After all, the star winger did say that he was "with Manchester in body and soul" after making his £80 million transfer to Los Blancos (per BBC Sport). Thus, a return to Old Trafford—to the Theater of Dreams—perhaps wasn't completely out of the question for the star winger.
Yet the reality is that a move from Ronaldo back to Manchester United isn't going to happen anytime in the near future. As much as Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly wants it and as much as the fans definitely want it, there's no way United can entice Ronaldo into returning to Old Trafford.
It would be surprising if the Portuguese international ever left Madrid at all.
Since arriving in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo has instantly become a huge success and has propelled himself to international stardom as a result of that.
He has netted 185 goals for Madrid across all competition in just 191 matches. He has won them the La Liga title and finished runner-up on two (perhaps soon to be three) occasions. He has won a Copa del Rey (again, perhaps soon to be two) and a Spanish Super Cup.
Moreover, Ronaldo has primed Madrid for strong showings in the Champions League every year since his arrival, with this season being no different. In fact, without the eight goals that he has scored in the tournament so far, Los Blancos would not be as far as they are in the competition right now.
Inasmuch, the 28-year-old has achieved nothing short of brilliance in his time at Madrid (did we mention how many times he's been World Player of the Year runner-up?) and has become an incredibly necessary part to their offensive production and attack.
Without him, Madrid are simply not Madrid anymore.
Emilio Butragueño, a former striker and now senior executive at the club, spoke recently about how integral Ronaldo was to Los Blancos (via The Telegraph).
Ronaldo is 28. He is under contract [until 2015] and we are very happy with him. We are delighted he is at Madrid. He is a fantastic professional and very ambitious in a positive way. His contribution to the team and the club has been amazing since he arrived. We are very grateful he came to us. We are very lucky that he plays for Real Madrid.
He scores a goal a game on average. This is incredible. I have been watching football since I was three and never saw anything similar. When Ronaldo is on the pitch, you know you are going to score. It is an incredible advantage.
For Manchester United, therefore, to try and pry Ronaldo away from that seems incredibly difficult, and it would have to be an offer they would no doubt have to sell very well.
There is a "homecoming" atmosphere that would certainly welcome the star winger back—we saw that to be the case when United recently played Madrid in the Champions League—and Ronaldo would surely be applauded, just as should, if he returned for good.
And there's no doubting that Ronaldo would be coming into a successful club, with United likely to become the instant favorites for English and European success.
However, what the Red Devils would need to do—and it's perhaps the most unlikely thing of it all—is entice Madrid into selling Ronaldo. Which, given that they sold him for £80 million in 2009, would likely see them reach the £100 million mark in order to try and bring him back.
Few can see Sir Alex Ferguson making such an outrageous move, even for a man that he knows firsthand how good and devastating he can be. To spend £100 million is just ludicrous, and it would seemingly make redundant the £50 million or so spent on bringing in players like Wilfried Zaha, Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young over the past few seasons.
And then, even if all of that somehow managed to take place, there's still no guarantee that Madrid will sell Ronaldo or that the winger himself would want to leave.
The English game is much more physical than the Spanish one, and he may well struggle with the different playing conditions and context of the Premier League, especially having not played in the competition for four straight seasons now.
Ronaldo, at United, would not see as much of the ball as he does at Madrid, with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie leading the attack. The winger would likely play a complementary role to them, which is completely different to what he does at Madrid, and, to put it bluntly, it's hard to see the second-best player in the world making a move only to play second fiddle.
Especially not when he has it all right in front of him at Madrid.
Los Blancos are a very talented team that have shown they can compete with Barcelona for domestic honors and for European prestige also. They've also already shown they can triumph over Manchester United in the Champions League with their round of 16 victory earlier in the season.
Ronaldo has seemingly everything he needs at Madrid, and Madrid have everything they seemingly need in Ronaldo. It's hard to see any club—let alone one unlikely to spend £100 million—being able to break up that symbiotic relationship and encourage a move from the star winger.
At least not any time in the near future.
Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo will ever leave Real Madrid?
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