It has been nearly six years since Cristiano Ronaldo last donned a Manchester United jersey. It was not the famous red one, but their white away shirt. And it was during a Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, not the glorious sending-off that was deserved. There is unfinished business for him at Old Trafford.
The Real Madrid winger is the undisputed best player on the planet but, with speculation of a return to the Theatre of Dreams beginning to resurface, could soon be the latest galactico to touch down on Mancunian shores.
It would be a bit steep to say Ronaldo owes United given the way he spearheaded three Premier League successes between the years of 2007 and 2009, but given the unwavering adoration felt for him by those in and around the club could find the prospect of a return too difficult to turn down.
When he returned to Old Trafford with Madrid on Champions League duty last year he was overawed by the occasion, with the tidal wave of emotion pouring from the Stretford End stopping him from running riot. But, of course, he still scored the decisive goal that eliminated his former club from Europe's top-tier competition.
On the day Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down from the managerial hotseat after 26 successful years stories begun to break of the club re-signing the Portuguese winger to numb the pain, but he eventually put pen to paper on a renewed deal in the Spanish capital and helped fire them to a tenth European Crown in May.
Despite that he has often spoken of his desire to one day don the famous red jersey once again, and with Louis Van Gaal slowly restoring the club to the dizzying heights of old may be the final piece in the Dutchman's jigsaw.
Van Gaal showed during the summer that price is no stumbling block when it comes to securing a top player. Ed Woodward, so often criticised for his inability to deliver a superstar for David Moyes, laid Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and others on the plate of the Dutchman who gobbled them up by spending over £150million throughout the summer.
Ronaldo's price tag is reported to be an unprecedented £1billion, but in reality Madrid would be happy to recoup the majority of the £80million that saw them successful bring him into the Santiago Bernabeu in the first place.
Despite residing in third in the Premier League title the club are set to embark on yet more big spending next year, though are thought to be more focused on bringing defenders to the club in the form of Mats Hummels and Diego Godin of Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid.
If Ronaldo is to return then it would spell bad news for Premier League defences after they thought they had got ridden him for good all those years ago.
The 29-year-old remains fit as a fiddle and, with 34 goals in 27 appearances for club and country this season continues to hit the goal trail with alarming consistency. His highest seasonal tally for United was 42 during the 2007/2008 double-winning campaign, but that number could rise with him now in the prime of his career.
His relationship with Wayne Rooney was always a key factor of the side that won countless honours under Ferguson, and reuniting him with Angel Di Maria with Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie leading the line could see United return to the top sooner rather than later.
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