Manchester United are reportedly prepared to pay Cristiano Ronaldo an annual wage of £17million to return to the club. So, with talk of a return to Old Trafford gathering momentum, it’s time to throw things back to 2013. David Gill jetted out to Spain to talk with the veteran, who was at Real Madrid at the time, believing he’d left with an agreement.
Manchester United saw Ronaldo evolve into a superstar during his six years at Old Trafford.
Signed from Sporting Lisbon back in the summer transfer window of 2003, he initially struggled to adjust to life at the highest level.
But Ronaldo returned after the 2006 World Cup a different beast, going on to propel the club to three straight Premier League titles as well as the Champions League crown in 2008.
The following year, he was cut loose to Real Madrid.
And talk of a return has been prominent in just about every year that’s passed since, with new noises suggesting an emotional homecoming could be on the cards this summer.
Reports in Italy have claimed United are readying a contract offer worth £17m per year to the Portugal international, even if Jadon Sancho is their priority at the current moment in time.
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And with that the case, it’s time to wind the block back.
In 2013, on the same day Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, the Daily Mail ran a story claiming Ronaldo was ‘close’ to returning to the club from Real Madrid.
It was claimed that David Gill, the powerbroker at the club at the time, had jetted out to Spain with talks with Jorge Mendes, the player’s agent.
And Gill was left with the impression that United would get their prodigal son back for a second stint at the Theatre of Dreams, just four years after his departure.
That secret flight, however, proved to be in vain.
Ronaldo ultimately didn’t come back, choosing to stick at Real Madrid where he’d go on to win four Champions League crowns, including three on the spin under Zinedine Zidane.
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And United endured a chastening transfer window that summer under David Moyes, missing out on many of their top targets.
Cesc Fabregas was lined up but the Spain international, strutting his stuff for Barcelona instead, opted to remain at the Nou Camp instead.
Thiago Alcantara, currently at Liverpool, decided to leave Barcelona for a transfer to Bundesliga titans Bayern Munich.
And Gareth Bale moved to Real Madrid from Tottenham, despite United actually offering more for the Wales international than their La Liga rivals.
To add fuel to the fire, Ronaldo recently appeared to bid farewell to Juventus – thanking everybody at the club for helping him achieve his goals over the past three years.
He said: “The life and career of any top player are made of ups and downs.
“Year after year, we face fantastic teams, with extraordinary players and ambitious goals, so we always have to give our best to keep ourselves at excellence levels.
“This year we couldn’t win Serie A, congratulations to Inter for the well-deserved title. However, I have to value everything that we achieved this season at Juventus, both in collective and individual terms.
“The Italian Super Cup, the Italian Cup and the Serie A Top Scorer trophy fill me with happiness, mainly due to the difficulty they carry with them, in a country where nothing is easy to win.
“With these achievements, I reached a goal that I had set myself since the first day I arrived in Italy: to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and top scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players, giant clubs and a very own football culture.
“I’ve already said that I don’t chase records, records chase me. For those who don’t understand what I mean by this, it’s very simple: football is a collective game, but it is through individual overcoming that we help our teams achieve their goals.
“It is always looking for more and more on the field, working more and more off the field, that records eventually emerge and collective titles become inevitable, some being the natural consequence of the other.
“So, I’m very proud with this fact that has been widely replicated in recent days: Champion in England, Spain and Italy; Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy; Super Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy; best player in England, Spain and Italy; best scorer in England, Spain and Italy; Over 100 goals for a club in England, Spain and Italy.
“Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that I’ve left my mark in the countries where I’ve played, and that I gave joy to the fans of the clubs I represented.
“This is what I work for, this is what moves me and this is what I’ll always keep chasing for until the last day.
“Thanks to everyone who took part in this journey! We stand together!”