If you can't beat him, acquire him. That's what Manchester United has to be thinking this summer as rumors are swirling that the Red Devils could potentially swap disgruntled striker Wayne Rooney for Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who starred at Old Trafford not long ago.
According to the Daily Star's Steve Millar, "Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo have been linked to a sensational £90 million swap deal between Man United and Real Madrid."
What makes the potential move so intriguing is that United's UEFA Champions League run this past season came to an end at the hands of Ronaldo and Real Madrid in the round of 16. The victory must have been bittersweet for the 28-year-old superstar, though, who played a huge role at Old Trafford from 2003 to 2009 before making the jump to La Liga.
But even if bringing in Ronaldo costs United a superstar in Rooney, the move would without question make David Moyes' squad the team to beat in Europe next season.
After all, the defending Premier League champions had no problem beating out England's top clubs last season without consistent contribution from Rooney, who saw Robin van Persie overtake him at the top of the club's lineup.
United won the EPL by 11 points, finishing with five more wins than any other club. Plus, the Red Devils only lost to Real Madrid by one goal on aggregate, earning a draw in the first leg against Los Blancos at the Bernabeu.
And with Ronaldo providing an additional scoring and creative threat alongside van Persie this coming season, opposing defenses would have more questions than answers for the English powerhouse.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in more than 290 appearances for United during the six years he played for the Red Devils under Sir Alex Ferguson. In his second-to-last season with United, Ronaldo was key in leading the club to its third European Cup, scoring a 26th minute goal in the final against Chelsea as the match ultimately went to penalty kicks at 1-1.
United would go on to win before finishing as UEFA Champions League runner-up in 2009.
The Red Devils have reached the European Cup final just once since Ronaldo left for Real four years ago, losing to Barcelona in 2011.
But acquiring Ronaldo at this point, in his prime, would not only make United the overwhelming favorite to repeat as Premier League champion in 2013-14, but it would also make the Red Devils the team to beat on the European stage as well next season.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!