Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo was crowned Uefa's best player in EuropeGetty Images/VALERY HACHE

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has reaffirmed his desire to return to Manchester United before the end of his career.

The 2013 Ballon d'Or winner left Old Trafford in 2009 as one of the club's greatest ever players and has often spoken of his fondness for the 20-time English league champions.

And though Ronaldo's contract with Real – with whom he won the Copa del Rey and the Champions League last season – has another four years to run, the 29-year-old has already set his sights on returning to United.

"I love Manchester," Ronaldo told The Daily Telegraph. "Everyone knows that — I have said it many times. Manchester is in my heart. I left many good friends there, the supporters are amazing and I wish I can come back one day.

"I am happy here in Real Madrid and have four more years but in the future you never know, because they treated me unbelievably there.

"I really did love being at Manchester United," he added. "Believe me, they will be a good team again, I'm sure of it. It is a great club."

Ronaldo has watched on as former Real teammate Angel di Maria moved to United while Radamel Falcao, who was heavily linked with a move to the Bernabeu, has also joined Louis van Gaal's side.

United's record-breaking transfer activity during the summer has come following a campaign where, under David Moyes's reign, the club failed to qualify for the Champions League.

But Ronaldo is confident his former side can return to English football's summit, saying: "This can happen. Bad moments and good moments. Manchester is passing through a bad moment. Last year it was a horrible season and this year they haven't started well either.

"But I do think they did well to buy Di Maria and Falcao. I think the team will be much better. I want to see them better because it is such a fantastic club and they deserve to be better. Falcao is a very good signing. He is a very good player."