With Ronaldo issuing what appears to be yet another 'come and get me' plea to former employers, Manchester United, the transfer rumour mill around Old Trafford is once again winding up. Real Madrid's current interest in Gareth Bale therefore suggests that should an acceptable offer come in, we could see the Portuguese ace making the switch back to the Premier League.
Here are five reasons why it would be a great decision.
1. He Is Loved Within Old Trafford
Despite announcing earlier in his career that it was his "dream" to play for Real Madrid, the love affair between player and club has been distinctly one-sided since that dream became a reality in 2009. While it would be remiss to imply that he is disliked within the Bernabeu, he is some way short of the adulation Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi receives from the Blaugrana.
Whether it was a ploy to engineer a new contract or a move away, Ronaldo voiced his feelings of being "unloved" by the Real Madrid support at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. To the average person, earning £250,000 a week for playing football would leave little to no room to ever feel anything other than sheer adulation, but to Ronaldo, the kind of unwavering appreciation he was shown at Old Trafford in one of the most testing periods of his career is clearly missing with his current home.
Return to the Theatre of Dreams—where his name is still chanted from the rafters—and Ronaldo would play his game before a crowd that sincerely adored his every touch of the ball.
2. There Is Greater Scope For glory at Manchester United
In spite of the recent switch in management, with Sir Alex Ferguson calling time on the most illustrious of managerial careers, Manchester United is still a club into which winning is indelibly ingrained. With a twentieth Premier League title achieved last year and a young, hungry squad, David Moyes is read to lead yet another assault on all fronts next season.
In contrast, Madrid have finished a well-beaten second to Barcelona for the third time in four years, were dumped unceremoniously out of the Champions League (after acrimoniously defeating United) and also could not get their hands on even the Copa del Rey.
At United, Ronaldo won everything there was to win, while at Real Madrid, he has just the Copa del Rey and a solitary La Liga championship to show for his phenomenal goalscoring feats. For a player that thrives on winning, on being the best at both a personal and collective level, then such a return must be considered paltry.
Real Madrid is a club that exists in a near-constant state of change, with managers and players coming and going like Spring rain, but at United, longevity is the key. Re-join the Red Devils and Ronaldo could see his trophy cabinet bulge once more.
3. The Ronaldo-Messi 'War' Would Be Over
The Spanish media loved nothing more than pitting Ronaldo and Messi, Madrid and Barca, against each other, and with Messi coming out on top in the annual Ballon d'Or award four times over his Portuguese rival, Ronaldo seems sick enough of the constant comparisons.
Even when he breaks all sorts of silly records (first player to score against every La Liga team in a single season; first player to score 40+ league goals in consecutive seasons) Messi is just around the corner waiting to out-do him. So a move across Europe to England, may be just what Ronaldo needs to take the pressure off such an intense rivalry, and allow him to concentrate on playing attractive football in an environment conducive to his needs.
Furthermore, with Messi banging in goals against Mickey Mouse teams in La Liga, if Ronaldo can replicate his goal return in the considerably harsher climes of the Premier League, perhaps such feats would serve to support him in the on-going, yet largely frivolous arguments on who is the best.
4. Manchester United's Forward Line Would Be Lethal
Ronaldo, van Persie, Kagawa and Hernandez all in one side sounds like someone's been going rather heavy on Fifa Ultimate Team, but if the former were to re-join United, such a line-up would be completely feasible.
Two of the most complete forwards in the world in Ronaldo and van Persie, supported by the burgeoning creative talents of Shinji Kagawa (and indeed Thiago Alcantara, if rumours are to be believed) presents one of the most mouth-watering partnerships in recent years. The tandem of van Persie and Ronaldo reeks sheer brilliance, and if they could play with one another you'd have a near-guaranteed 20+ goal return from both your forwards. The last notable time that happened, United marched their way to a historic treble...
5. Ferguson Will Still Be Involved in the Club
Ronaldo has been regularly vocal on the admiration and huge debt of gratitude he owes Sir Alex Ferguson. He plucked Ronaldo from Sporting CP and nurtured him into one of the decade's greatest footballers, and despite the Scot's absence from the dugout, Ronaldo will still be able to find him involved daily with the club.
Moyes is in no way to be undermined in his role as manager of the club, but with Ferguson still on-board in a background capacity, Ronaldo still has his mentor within earshot. You don't need to be a huge name to manage Ronaldo despite his global status; he's not a troublemaker, nor has he ever shown any desire to consider himself bigger than the club he is employed by.
David Moyes has long given the impression he is 'cut from the same cloth' as Sir Alex, and his brand of discipline and footballing knowledge should see him successful at Manchester United. Having a former (and possibly future) world player of the year beneath your stewardship can only lead onto great things.