Manchester United must leave Ronaldo in the past

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Manchester United supporters: it's time to finally stop pining over Cristiano Ronaldo.

Yes, he was superb for the Red Devils during his six-year stay - but the Portuguese superstar feels no true affection towards the club, hence his intense desire to move to his dream club Real Madrid back in 2008.

Of course, he stayed at Old Trafford for another season, but only thanks to the intervention of father figure Sir Alex Ferguson, who promised him a move to Los Blancos if he remained in Manchester for another 12 months.

Remember: this is also the same Cristiano Ronaldo who agreed with FIFA president Sepp Blatter that Manchester United should stop treating him like a "modern-day slave" back in 2008.

Through rose-tinted glasses it's been easy for much of the United faithful to forget moments like this, or the remarkable petulance he showed after being substituted against Manchester City in 2009.

But now, after Ronaldo categorically stated that "Manchester is in the past", fans of the Premier League champions must stop acting like the hopeless ex-lover of a woman who's now happily married to another man, longing for the day she finally sees sense and returns home.

Throughout the summer, every speculative newspaper report linking the Portugal international with a move back to Old Trafford was considered a certain sign that Ronaldo would make a triumphant return to the club which fills the largest space in his heart.

The fact is, Ronaldo's heart is firmly in Madrid. He may have shown respect to his former employers and the fans who continue to chant "Viva Ronaldo" during last season's Champions League tie by refusing to celebrate after scoring, but the egotistical showman would not receive the recognition he currently gets in the Spanish capital by returning to Old Trafford.

He knows that, while he also knows that there would have been no chance of becoming the world's highest paid player - like he is today - back in north-west England.

"My club is Real Madrid," Ronaldo stated on Sunday after penning a new contract with the nine-time European champions. "This is my home, my family is here and I'm really happy here."

In all probability, Ronaldo merely used United as a bargaining tool for a new lucrative contract this summer. It certainly had the desired effect.

But fear not United fans. Your team has continued winning trophies since Ronaldo's departure - and only missed out on another European Cup because you came up against Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, arguably the best club side of all time, in 2011 - and will still win silverware in the future.

Better to unearth and nurture the next world star, rather than bringing back Ronaldo to Old Trafford when he's well past his peak in four or five years' time.

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La Liga
Manchester United
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
Premier League

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