Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo has championed the "competitive" nature of the Premier League, suggesting the intensity of the fans and permissive referring makes English football more engaging than its Spanish equivalent.

Ronaldo spent six trophy-laden years at Manchester United, winning three Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League before making his world record, £80 million move to Real Madrid in 2009.

Despite breaking countless goal-scoring records and transferring his stunning form at Manchester United to the bright lights of Real Madrid, the former World and European player of the year has been criticised by some sections of the Bernabeu due to the occasional underwhelming performance, most pertinently against Barcelona.

At the beginning of the month, reports surfaced hinting at Ronaldo's perceived unhappiness at the hostility, admittedly from a small minority, directed towards him from Real Madrid fans and although he was subsequently, and perhaps tenuously, linked with an unlikely return to Manchester United, Ronaldo admitted he is still a huge fan of the Premier League.

"The Premier League is more competitive than La Liga," The Manchester United hero told DT. "In Spain, football is more technical, the players like to control the ball, they play more football.

"In England, the game is more intense, the referees give more freedom and I believe that the British fans like it.

"I like it, too, the fast football, teamwork, it is brilliant and wonderful to watch."

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has regularly praised the attitude and professionalism of his former star, who he signed from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 for just £12.24 million, and it was suggested last week that the recent abolishment of 'Ley Beckham' (The Beckham Law) would encourage the Old Trafford supremo to try and engineer an audacious return for the Portuguese international.

The aforementioned legislation previously limited the amount of tax payable by foreign footballers, but its repeal means the likes of Ronaldo could be paying more than 50% tax on his reputed £250,000 a week wages, which has inevitably heightened rumours of a return to Manchester United.

Although Ronaldo refused to celebrate his goal in last week's 5-1 victory over Granada amid rumours he was irked by the mutterings of discontent from his own fans, Mourinho suggests his player is happy.

"He seems fine to me," Mourinho told reporters recently while discussing rumours of the aforementioned Manchester United icon's alleged unhappiness at Real Madrid. "I think it is more relevant that he celebrates the goals that win games and not the fifth goal in the 90th minute.

"I saw him celebrate the other four that were the important ones. If there are going to be criticisms of a player for not celebrating goals, then why not criticise me because I didn't celebrate any of the five goals. I didn't even get up."

The aforementioned Manchester United icon is likely to be under even greater scrutiny on Wednesday night, when Real Madrid host Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter final.