Cristiano Ronaldo's "fairytale" comeback at Manchester United my become a short-lived affair if the club fails to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. If this happens, the Portuguese star will be slapped with a pay cut, which in turn could lead to his eventual departure.

According to Marca, Ronaldo's current contract with the Red Devils has a clause that states he will be docked 25 percent of his salary if the club dos not make it into the prestigious European tournament. Basically, United need to either win the Champions League this year or make it into the top four in the Premier League in order to gain a spot.

So far, Manchester United have made it through to the last-16 of this season's Champions League. They have been drawn against Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, but any opponent will surely pose a tough challenge until the end. There is a chance they can pull it off, but a more realistic goal would be to qualify via the Premier League spots.

At the moment, the club is sitting in 4th place with 38 points. They have two games in hand over third-placed Chelsea, but the gap is nine points wide. Manchester City and Liverpool meanwhile, are a log way ahead in the top two spots. The best strategy at the moment is to try to catch Chelsea while trying to fend off West Ham United, Arsenal and Tottenham who are all within striking distance just 1-2 points behind.

Ronaldo has not been shy about showing his frustration when things have not gone well this season, and even though he is happy to return to Old Trafford, dismal results coupled with a salary deduction may push him to seek yet another challenge elsewhere.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner re-joined Manchester United last summer after 12 seasons away. He spent most of that time with Real Madrid where he cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players of all-time. After a shorter stint with Juventus FC, he decided to rejoin United.

Expectations were high, and to be fair, Ronaldo did not return to England to wind down his career. He has already scored 14 goals in all competitions for United this season, and has made a huge difference on the pitch. However, United are still 21 points behind leaders Manchester City, and the improvements may not be coming soon enough for the number 7.

Cristiano Ronaldo
801 not out: Cristiano Ronaldo took his career tally for club and country to 801 with a double against Arsenal AFP / Oli SCARFF