Ronaldo insisted he is happy at Real Madrid, where he has now been for five years, but just speaking fondly of the Red Devils is bound to get fans nostalgic for the Portuguese star.
United and Real Madrid meet later on Saturday in the International Champions Cup in Michigan—Ronaldo had hoped to feature against his former club but has been ruled out unfit.
The Manchester Evening News carries the quotes:
Of course, it was one of my favourite clubs, Manchester, everyone knows that every time when I speak about Real Madrid I should speak about Manchester United, I love it there.
I was 18-years-old, I win everything there. The people treat me like a god there so I appreciate it and in the future nobody knows.
Some players I am still in contact with because when I was there I create a good relationship with everybody, not just the players, all the staff around and it was like my second family there too so I’ll not forget that the people treat me good.
I’ll not forget, so I appreciate a lot.
I love Manchester, to be back, I never know, you never know, football you never know.
I appreciate this club, for me it’s one of the best clubs in the world and I have passion for this club.
Of course I’m happy at Real Madrid, it’s my home, it’s my club but Manchester treat me unbelievable so we never know.
Ronaldo joined United back in 2003 and developed into one of the world's leading players before leaving for Spain in the summer of 2009.
It's hard to read the quote as anything other than being courteous—asked directly about Manchester United, it would have been more controversial to deny a return could ever happen.
But when the player has the reputation and quality of Ronaldo, that's enough to give United fans hope it could one day happen.
Ronaldo is now 29, and in 2013 he signed a fresh contract with Real that keeps him with the club until 2018.
Rumours around a return have lingered, however, especially in 2012, when the Portugal forward was reportedly sad in Spain.