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Ferguson would love to have Ronaldo back with Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson said he would love to see Cristiano Ronaldo back in a Manchester United shirt one day. While all of Europe relished the prospect of Ronaldo's Real Madrid taking on Manchester United in the Champions League knockout stage, Fergie was being invited to indulge in a little wishful thinking.

"I'd love to see that but it's fanciful thinking really," Ferguson said. "First of all, how much it would take to get him from Real Madrid?" Well, given that Real paid United £80 million for the player and, if anything, he has improved since moving to Spain, probably rather more than the parsimonious Glazer family would be interested in spending.

"Second, I don't think there's any chance they would want to sell him," Ferguson continued. "But you never know. I don't know when his contract finishes. He may want to go to another club at some point in his career and I'd hope he would want to come here. But that's a long way off."

Ronaldo spent six years at Manchester United and has made no secret of his affection for the club and his respect for the manager. When the Champions League draw was made, he said he would not celebrate if he scored at Old Trafford. "I still speak with Ferguson," he told AS. "I miss him a lot and I miss Manchester United. I felt very good there; it was like a family. I had six great years there and am still friends with my team-mates. It is thanks to Manchester United that I am here playing for Real Madrid. Without them I wouldn't be the player I am today."

Ferguson joked that Ronaldo shouldn't play in the Champions League tie. "The contract with Real says that he can't play against us," the manager said with a rare smile. "I think it will be a disgrace if he plays against us anyway."

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