Speculation regarding Manchester United re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo lit up early this summer, with it reported in June that the former Old Trafford icon was to meet with club officials about a move.
He then tweeted a denial of speculation that he had reached an agreement to re-sign a new contract with Real Madrid, applying the pressure on the club with his deal set to expire in 2015, which would have placed the Spaniards in an unwelcome position next summer with one year remaining.
Given the amazing reception he received prior to, and even after, scoring Madrid's winner at Old Trafford in the Champions League in February - a desire to move back to the club was at least possible in the context of his apparent discontent in Spain.
Those hopes failed to materialise into anything this transfer window, and have now been dashed with the Portuguese international signing a new contract this weekend, announced at a press conference in Spain on Sunday.
Ronaldo even suggested United's hopes had been pointless all along, with him claiming he had given his verbal agreement he would re-sign months ago.
"We agreed at the end of last season, the President gave me his word and I gave it to him, just missing it on the paper and we have it now."
But Manchester United fans should not give up all hope of ever seeing him in a red shirt again entirely, just shelve it for a while.
For Ronaldo sounded doubtful as to whether this deal at Madrid would be his last.
"I do not know if I'll finish my career here, do not know if I will retire with 33 years."
Few would bet on him doing so, given the superb physical shape he keeps himself in. His commitment until 2018 gives him plenty of time to try to achieve all his goals - namely helping Real Madrid to a 10th Champions League title and winning the Ballon d'Or.
After that? Then, may be at 33 a return to Manchester United could be on the cards, but for now fans will have to put it to the back of their minds and hope the club can unearth the next big superstar. Adnan Januzaj perhaps?
image: © Jan S0L0