Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has once again expressed his sincere admiration and gratitude to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former United favourite spoke in glowing terms of his former coach, mentor and club, describing the Scot as “one of the most important people in football”.
With rumours circulating throughout the January transfer window that the Ballon d’Or runner-up could one day return to United, in the wake of a myriad of commentators speculating that his future at Real Madrid is hanging in the balance, the Portuguese international has come out with yet another statement about his former boss.
“I still have an excellent relationship with [Ferguson] and it will be nice to see him again. He taught me the basis of football,” he explained.
“I arrived in Manchester when I was only 18. He managed my career in the best possible way and for me he is one of the most important people in football.”
There is not a shadow of a doubt that the long-serving Red Devils boss is indeed one of the most important people in football. He is, perhaps, one of the most successful managers in the history of the sport and has been at the biggest and most profitable club in history for almost three decades.
In that time, Ferguson has developed, acquired, and produced some of the games most recognisable names, footballing icons, and world-class talent, of which Ronaldo is just one.
Synonymously, I have not a shadow of a doubt that Manchester United fans would welcome Ronaldo back with open arms but, with his future in doubt at Madrid, I wonder whether his persistent gushing over his former club and manager could be something of a ‘come get me plea’.
Or, on the other hand, he could be merely softening the supporters ahead of his imminent trip to Old Trafford in the knockout phase of the Champion’s League. Madrid travel to Manchester next month for the second leg of the tie with United – a game that promises to be the standout fixture of the round.
Ronaldo will likely receive a warm welcome from the home fans and, despite his insistence that he will honour his contract at the Santiago Bernabeau which runs until the summer of 2015, I wonder whether he will in fact one day return to United.
He was sold for £80 million back in June 2009 breaking the world record transfer fee – he signed a contract with a €1 billion buyout clause – and Ferguson recently stated that Ronaldo is now ‘unbuyable’.
Super-rich Paris Saint-Germain have been subtly courting the player but I have a sneaking suspicion that deal will never be granted by Real Madrid, even for ‘silly money’. He’s simply too valuable to the club.
Will Ronaldo return to United? Well, in the summer of 2015 he’ll be 30 years of age and, with Ferguson’s record of keeping veteran stars around, I wouldn’t put it past him to bring Ronaldo back.