Manchester United chief plays down Cristiano Ronaldo transfer rumours

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Manchester United chief executive David Gill is reluctant to be drawn on rumours linking Cristiano Ronaldo with a return to the club, reports Sky Sports.

The 27-year-old has openly admitted to having strong emotional ties to the Red Devils, and although he says he will see out his contract - which runs until 2015 - at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Portuguese forward cannot be certain where his long-term future lies.

Sir Alex Ferguson is still a huge admirer of the prolific frontman, and recently claimed he would welcome Ronaldo back at Old Trafford with open arms, because the Real Madrid star is the kind of player that would improve any side.

Speculation about Ronaldo's future comes ahead of his impending return to England, to face his former employers in the Champions League last-16 next month, three-and-a-half years after he left Manchester United for a world-record £80million fee in 2009.

Gill expects the former fans' favourite to receive a warm reception from the Old Trafford faithful, but would not be drawn on making a comment either way on whether Manchester United hold an interest in bringing Ronaldo back permanently.

"He is a brilliant player but he is contracted for the next two-and-a-half years at Madrid," he told Sky Sports.

"We are looking forward to welcoming him back, he will get a great reception at Old Trafford in early March and that is all we have got to say."

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Manchester United
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