MANCHESTER, England (Dispatches) - Having left Manchester United in great shape 12 years ago, not long after firing them to a third straight league title, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return to a club that is looking to recapture the glory days.
They say never go back, but United fans had been longing for Ronaldo to rejoin their side for many years, more in forlorn hope than anything else.
A Ronaldo return to England could have triggered very different emotions among United’s following should widespread reports that the Portugal forward was on the verge on joining rivals Manchester City come to fruition.
Instead, subject to personal terms being agreed, a visa and medical clearance, Ronaldo will return to the club that turned him from scrawny teenager in 2003 to a Ballon d’Or winner in less than five years - a player who transformed United into a force at home and abroad.
Between his Premier League debut in August 2003 and his final appearance in May 2009, only Thierry Henry scored more goals (92) than Ronaldo’s tally of 84.
His goals helped United to reach the Champions League final in 2008 and 2009.