As reports continue that Ronaldo may be returning to Old Trafford, the appointment of David Moyes could make that more likely rather than less so.
In the immediate aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson announcing his retirement, two names were thrown into the hat to replace him.
One was a quiet, hard-working Scottish bloke, the other a cocky Portuguese showman.
Both had impressive if considerably different CVs.
Jose Mourinho had enjoyed great success at clubs where that sort of thing can be bought (at least to a degree) while David Moyes had turned Everton into the best of the rest.
Now he finds himself in charge of the best of the best.
But there was a third name that was and continues to be banded about. Not the name of a manager, but of a player formerly of Manchester United and currently working under Mourinho.
The thought of many was that should the self-proclaimed “special one” arrive at Old Trafford, he would magically bring Ronaldo with him, the pied piper of Portugal.
When in fact, a Mourinho appointment would have proved more a sizeable block for any Ronaldo move rather than the welcome mat it was portrayed as.
Folllowing Real Madrid’s Champions League exit, an interview with Ronaldo was tweaked for the benefit of headlines.
Suddenly the 28-year-old forward had said he didn’t care about Mourinho, when in fact what he said was, “I don’t want to talk about (Mourinho’s future). I’m only worried about myself and the team, not (the speculation surrounding) the coach.”
And yet while he never actually said he didn’t care about his manager, it was apparent he wasn’t overly enamoured with him either.
Talk in Spain is of cracks becoming chasms in the Madrid side; that Mourinho now only has the backing of a small group of players.
Even if they do share a homeland, would Ronaldo really have followed Mourinho to United when he saw what was happening at the Bernabeu?
If the rumours are true, and David Gill has met with Ronaldo’s agent to discuss the possibility of a return to Manchester, would it not be far more likely that the player would choose to play under a manager personally selected by a man he respects like a father?
Would United have considered that any reticence surrounding Moyes' appointment would be immediately forgotten should one of their all-time greats return to the club that made him a man?
And with the knowledge that Ferguson will remain at United as a director and ambassador, would that not sway Ronaldo’s decision if he is truly considering a sensational comeback?
The most recent reports suggest the player is intent on running down his current contract in Spain.
But Moyes’ appointment has opened the door rather than closed it should the player wish to walk through.
Ronaldo has intelligence as well as talent. And he will know that Moyes’ United will be one in which the players are given the spotlight, not the man in the dug-out.
Do you think Ronaldo could really return to United? And what would that mean for Moyes' tenure?
image: © gordonflood