Cristiano Ronaldo ticks every Manchester United box for the Glazers | Football | Sport

Cristiano Ronaldo is again being linked with a move back to Manchester United. Juventus could cash in on the 35-year-old because of the coronavirus crisis, with the Old Lady’s finances severely impacted. And a stunning return to Old Trafford can’t be entirely ruled out, with the Portugal international ticking every box for the Glazers.

Ronaldo was a huge hit during his time at United.

He signed as David Beckham’s replacement in 2003 and made an immediate impact, sparkling on his debut in a 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers while wearing some eye-catching silver footwear.

Ronaldo would score in the final of the FA Cup the following year, with his header breaking Millwall’s resolve at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

There were teething problems, of course.

He was undoubtedly skillful but took his time to find an end product. And, in 2006, it looked as though he’d be leaving Old Trafford behind.

Ronaldo wanted out after England lost to Portugal at the World Cup in Germany. He’d played a role in team-mate Wayne Rooney receiving a red card and feared a backlash, especially given how Beckham had been the subject of a witch hunt eight years previously.

But that was a coming of age moment for the forward. He returned a different player, a world-class asset, propelling the Red Devils to three straight Premier League titles.

Furthermore, he also fired them to back to back Champions League finals. He scored against Chelsea in 2008, though did miss a penalty in the vital shootout, and was unable to get anywhere near Barcelona the following year.

In 2009, Ronaldo left. After initially wanting to depart the previous year, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to strike a deal with Real Madrid – despite insisting he ‘wouldn’t sell that mob a virus’ mere months beforehand.

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But, curiously, United have never shut the door on a potential return.

Patrice Evra revealed in 2013 that it was actually close to happening, before Ferguson’s sudden retirement changed everything. Speaking earlier this year, he said: “He [Ferguson] said: ‘My target is I’m 99 per cent sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.’

“‘I just need these two players to win the Champions League again. Ninety-nine per cent’.

“And to be fair, when I speak with Cristiano, I ask him and he said yes to the boss, and was coming to join United. He told me this.”

Signing peak Ronaldo from Real Madrid was never going to happen.

He was far too vital for the La Liga giants but the 35-year-old often pined for the same love and affection from United fans during his time in Spain.

The Portugal international has never shut the door on a potential return, either. He said in 2014: “Some players I am still in contact with because when I was there I created 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 well. I’ll not forget.

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“I love Manchester, to be back, I never know, you never know.

“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.”

That same year, he said he wished he could return to United one day in the future.

“I love Manchester,” he said.

“Everyone knows that. Manchester is in my heart.

“The supporters are amazing and I wish I can come back one day.”

And he said ‘nothing is impossible’ when quizzed on potentially returning to United just three years ago, during his final season with Real Madrid.

That makes a move feasible.

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And so too do the Glazers.

The American owners love a big-name signing. They see the club’s stock price on the stock exchange rise, see fans buy shirts in abundance and hope they’ll fire them to silverware as well – which leads to more cash.

And Ronaldo ticks every single box for them.

There’s no bigger name in sport, never mind football. That the 35-year-old is the world’s most-followed person on Instagram, ahead of Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, backs that up.

Regarding shirt sales and United would have no problem with that. Ronaldo 7 would sell everywhere around the world, making cash galore. There would be no issues like they’ve had this year, with fans actually preferring to buy jerseys donning the names of women’s team players Tobin Heath and Christen Press.

And the Juventus star would also likely lead them to silverware. After all, that’s what he’s all about.

So while United re-signing their former flame still seems somewhat unlikely, it can’t be denied that he ticks every box for the Glazers.

They signed a waning Tom Brady for their NFL franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on big money, so who’s to say lightning can’t strike twice?

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