Cristiano Ronaldo has boosted Manchester United's hopes of re-signing him, by admitting he still "loves" the club that gave him the platform to become one of the world's greatest players, reports the Daily Express.
The Portuguese forward is set to face his former club when Real Madrid take on United in the Champions League last-16, but his enduring affection for his old employers will not quench his thirst for success when the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu comes round on February 13.
Ronaldo recently returned to Manchester for the first time since his £80million departure from Old Trafford in 2009, when Jose Mourinho's men faced the Red Devils' local rivals Manchester City, in their penultimate group stage clash at the Etihad Stadium.
The 27-year-old failed to get on the scoresheet in the 1-1 draw, but it still marked a successful trip as Real Madrid confirmed their place in the next round, and also appeased Manchester United fans by knocking City out of Europe.
"I still have such great feelings of friendship and love for them," reflected Ronaldo on his relationship with Manchester United. "They're a team that have done a lot for my career.
"The fans know me well and I have a lot of friends there I keep close to my heart. Now I am defending Real Madrid's colours. I want to score, and for us to win."
Last month Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that he would love to bring Ronaldo back to the Premier League, but conceded that a number of obstacles stood in the way of a fairytale return to Manchester United.