Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that he seriously considered a return to Manchester United in the wake of his Ballon d’Or success on Monday, revealing that Rio Ferdinand did try his upmost to persuade the Portuguese back to Old Trafford last summer.
Ronaldo’s future was unclear with just two years to run on his current, and talk quickly emerged that United officials were considering making a mammoth offer to bring back the forward to his former home, having left Manchester in 2009 in a then-record £80m move to Real Madrid.
Ferdinand has already confirmed that he tried to talk Ronaldo into a return – the two remain good friends since the latter’s departure – and Ronaldo has admitted that the current Premier League champions remain in his heart and will always be a special club to him.
Having just beaten Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to the prestigious award, Ronaldo said: “It was true that Rio spoke to me a lot. Rio is a great friend of mine, we played many years together at Manchester United and we were neighbours when I was there in Manchester.
“He's a fantastic guy and tried to change my mind. I did think about United. They are still in my heart. It's a club where I played for six years and I love that club. I have a lot of friends there and I wish them the best.”
Sir Alex Ferguson brought Ronaldo to the club back in 2003, and he went on to score 117 goals for the Red Devils in a six year spell that saw him emerge as one of the best footballers on the planet – winning his first Ballon d’Or award in 2008 after United claimed the Champions League having beaten Premier League rivals Chelsea in the final.
Despite proving to be a major success at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo has constantly been in the shadow of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, with the Argentinian claiming the last four awards with Ronaldo finishing runner-up each time. However, 2013 proved to be Ronaldo’s year, and as he burst into tears upon the announcement of his name by Brazil legend Pele.
He ended any speculation of a move away from the Spanish capital at the beginning of this season when he agreed a new five-year contract until 2018, worth an incredible £76m that saw him overtake Paris Saint Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the best paid player in the world.