Manchester United want Cristiano Ronaldo but Jose Mourinho knows he must press on without the ‘circus’

In the tentative first discussions Manchester United have had over potentially bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, a situation still involving so many complications and questions, there are a few things that are at least abundantly clear.

If the Portuguese did return to Old Trafford, he would instantly bring with him a guarantee of 30 goals – and even at 32 years of age that might be a conservative guarantee – thereby completely transforming United as a team again.

He is simply fantastic enough to make them a proper force, all hesitation about the side evaporating. They would be challengers again. It would also make the squad even more marketable, while giving executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward the greatest summer star he craves, but all of those economics would obvious pale beside the deep emotional power of Ronaldo’s return “home”.

Given all of that as well as how United could easily afford him, it seems a no-brainer… except there is actually a lot to think about, and figure out.

Many at Old Trafford think it has been Woodward’s “dream” to bring Ronaldo back to United ever since he took over from David Gill in 2013, but the very fact the club have been in this situation before – especially in that first summer four years ago – means there is an understandable caution right now.

There are naturally questions over whether this is all a big bargaining chip from Ronaldo with Madrid, for everything from his much-publicised tax issues that have triggered this story to his wages. United don’t want to get into a situation where they are once more left both looking silly and then looking somewhere else. It has already been described by one figure within the club as a potential “circus”.

Some close to Real say the European champions are taking it much more seriously than that, though, and feel there is at least a “25% chance” Ronaldo could actually leave, with…

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