Cristiano Ronaldo still dreams of returning to Manchester United, writes Guillem Balague in his new biography on the Portuguese star.
Sky Sports' Spanish expert Balague says Manchester United informed Ronaldo's agent in 2013 that they had the financial clout to secure the Real Madrid forward, while David Moyes was managing the then-Premier League champions.
Ronaldo's Real Madrid contract renewal in September 2013 quietened any transfer talk, and though Balague says United are firmly in Ronaldo's heart, he admits a return would not make sense for either party.
Read the extract from Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography, by Guillem Balague, below
"It was a mix of excitement about a new project in his life and sadness," recalled Ryan Giggs. "He knew that we'd looked after him. But he always looks ahead, just like me."
On 11 June, Manchester United announced that they had reached an agreement with Real Madrid which would make Ronaldo the most expensive footballer in history. £80 million (€94 million) changed hands.
Ronaldo was packing his bags after six years, nine trophies, 292 matches and 118 goals. His season-by-season tally was: 6, 9, 12, 23, 42, 26.
Cristiano Ronaldo still dreams of returning to Manchester United. The English club informed his agent in 2013 that they have enough financial power to secure his return.
In fact, everything has been in place since his departure in case both parties decide to take that step.
The club's new manager at the time, David Moyes, believed that they were about to convince Ronaldo to come back that very summer.
That was the message that United's board transmitted to him. What ensued instead was a contract renewal for Ronaldo at Real Madrid that turned him into the best-paid player on the planet in September 2013.
In summer 2014 he told a Real Madrid player who was about to leave Los Blancos that he saw himself at United in two years' time.
The English club informed his agent in 2013 that they have enough financial power to secure his return. In fact, everything has been in place since his departure in case both parties decide to take that step.
The feeling that Carrington was the ideal place to pave his path, Old Trafford to play his football and the Premier League to feel loved gradually developed in Ronaldo's head.
At Manchester United, he was completely focused on his target. In Madrid, other things are demanded and the sporting rewards may be superior (although that is open to debate), and the commercial side more profitable (ditto).
But the level of universal appreciation from his own fans and opponents is far inferior at Madrid.
Despite the boos in his first and final seasons at Manchester United, he felt loved as he has never felt since. Alex Ferguson reminds him whenever he can that the door is still open.
But in my opinion it does not make sense for him to return to Old Trafford. Neither for the club nor for him. They are in parallel universes.
Ronaldo would go back to the city that he wanted to leave behind for so many years. He would have to fight against his own shadow. Manchester United have a big enough global following and sufficient financial firepower without him.
They no longer need Cristiano Ronaldo. He will remain a Manchester United legend. A memory that both club and player still feed off today.
Copyright (c) Guillem Balague, 2015. Extracted from Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography by Guillem Balague published by Orion on November 5, priced £20 in hardback and £10.99 in ebook.