Jose Mourinho has played down the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo making a grand return to Manchester United.
Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has informed Real Madrid of his decision to leave the club at the end of the season having been left feeling betrayed over unfulfilled promises made by president Florentino Perez over a new contract.
The 32-year-old's priority is now a return to Manchester, where he spent six years before departing for Madrid in 2009.
AS claimed earlier this month officials at Old Trafford already "know of his desire" to return to the Premier League giants, with the player having already informed some of his Los Blancos teammates of his intention to leave the Spanish capital at the end of the season.
Ronaldo's decision has come amid a wretched campaign for the Spanish champions who are already out of the La Liga title race, sat in fourth place, 19 points behind Barcelona. A Copa Del Rey elimination at the hands of Leganes on Wednesday [24 January] intensified the malaise at the Bernabeu.
When asked if Real's woeful campaign might pave the way for Ronaldo's home coming, Mourinho made no secret of the fact the Portugal international is a player "every manager" wants – but does not anticipate him leaving Madrid.
"Madrid is on fire - the results are not good," Jose said at a press conference on Thursday. "But it's a club where I worked for three years and I care about the club. I think I should be the last one to add some fuel to the fire.
"To put some water on the fire, I would say Cristiano is the kind of player that every manager wants, every club wants, but only one manager can have and only one club can have - Zidane and Real Madrid. That's my feeling."
Ronaldo's unhappiness at Real appears to boil down to a contract dispute. The Portuguese played a pivotal role in a La Liga and Champons Legaue double last term, scoring 42 goals in 46 games and AS claim he was promised a pay rise off the back of that campaign – one that still has not come.
The former Sporting Lisbon starlet is currently earning €21m (£18.7m, $25.7m) per season – equivalent to £360,000-a-week - after he signed a new deal until 2021 in November 2016.
Spanish reports suggest Ronaldo is seeking an upgrade on those terms, after Lionel Messi was rewarded a new contract worth €50m a season at Barcelona.