Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed that he considered re-joining Manchester United in the summer before pledging his long-term future to Real Madrid, and admits he still holds the Premier League champions close to his heart.
The two-time Ballon d'Or winner was the subject of multiple transfer rumours over the course of the transfer window as he considered his future and United were widely touted as a possible destination as David Moyes looked for a marque summer signing.
Rio Ferdinand revealed he tried to convince Ronaldo to make the move back to United in what would have been a stunning first transfer deal for Moyes but the forward eventually chose to stay with Madrid and sign a new long-term deal with the Spanish giants.
But Ronaldo says that he still thinks about the club that turned him from a youngster full of potential into one of the best players in the world and concedes he seriously considered a return to Old Trafford.
"It is true that Rio Ferdinand and I spoke in the summer," Ronaldo told reporters.
"He is a fantastic guy and he tried to change my mind to go back to Manchester.
"I did think about United. They are still in my heart and it is a club where I played four years. I love that club."
The addition of Ronaldo would have illuminated a summer which transfer window during which Moyes and incoming vice-chairman Ed Woodward struggled and only secured the sole signing of Marouane Fellaini on deadline day.
Ronaldo has gone from strength to strength since moving to Madrid from United in 2009 and the Portugal international was the man of the hour last night, beating off competition from Franck Ribery and Lionel Messi in Zurich to win the Ballon d'Or.
With 69 goals across the year the 28 year old will certainly continue to be on United's radar should he ever consider a move back to the Theatre of Dreams.