Cristiano Ronaldo could return against Manchester United - but it won't be like previous reunions

Previous meetings between Ronaldo and the club he left in 2009 have been emotional affairs - but few of those he played alongside remain

Cristiano Ronaldo is in line to play former club Manchester United on Saturday as he steps up his return from a knee injury.

Speaking after Real Madrid's 1-0 defeat to Roma, coach Carlo Ancelotti said: "He [Ronaldo] did two sessions today and he is working well on his own.

"Let's see if in the next few days he can train with the team and can play against Manchester," added the Italian. "We have to be careful, right now we have to be calm."

Read more: Louis van Gaal interview
Fellaini and Kagawa could head United exodus
All you need to know about Vidal

Should Ronaldo be ready to feature in the match in Detroit it will be just the third time he has faced his former club since leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.

The previous two occasions came during the 2012/13 Champions League when Ronaldo scored in both legs of the Last-16 knock-out match as Real Madrid won 3-2 on aggregate.

Video: The latest transfer news

Those games would be the last European matches of Sir Alex Ferguson's tenure and the reunion of the former Manchester United manager and probably the greatest talent to play under him during his 27-year Old Trafford reign was an emotional occasion for both of them. Ferguson would go on to describe Ronaldo as "the most gifted player I managed" in his autobiography.

The second-leg at Old Trafford saw Ronaldo welcomed back by fans who gave him a rapturous reception and also re-united with numerous former team-mates.

A Manchester United fan welcomes Ronaldo back to Old Trafford A Manchester United fan welcomes Ronaldo back to Old Trafford  

However, this Saturday's reunion will be a very different affair. Whilst some former team-mates, including Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs (now in a coaching role), Michael Carrick, Nani, Danny Welbeck, Rafael and Darren Fletcher remain at the club from Ronaldo's time - many more have since left.

Read more: Hummels, Vermaelen and Blind on radar
Hernandez close to exit

Sir Alex Ferguson has been replaced, twice, and Ronaldo will now find Louis van Gaal sitting in the opposition dug-out.

When he last played Manchester United, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Dimitar Berbatov, Nemanja Vidic and Paul Scholes were among the opposition squad but have all since now departed. Since he left for £80m in 2009, there are many more who have exited Old Trafford - Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Louis Saha, Park Ji-Sung and Carlos Tevez to name but a few.

Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrate winning the Premier League title together Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrate winning the Premier League title together  

Further up stairs the man who sanctioned his sale, David Gill, has been replaced by Ed Woodward and not even the shirt sponsors are the same.

Ronaldo, the current Fifa Ballon d'Or holder, will be sure to receive a warm reception from those that remain, but there will be far fewer shared memories.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk