Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United eight years ago, but evidently he still has a strong influence on the club from afar, as he has seemingly crafted an almighty U-turn in the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga.
Reports suggest United are now officially in negotiations to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after the forward engaged in convincing talks with his former boss Ferguson this morning.
The Manchester Evening News reports: "Ferguson is understood to have reached out to Ronaldo on Friday morning after he seemed certain to join City. As of this morning, City were the only club interested in signing Ronaldo."
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The 36-year-old, currently at Juventus, looked as though he was on his way to United’s bitter rivals Manchester City, after an attempt to lure the Portuguese to the Etihad Stadium following the news of Ronaldo’s desire to leave Turin.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was inevitably asked about the player in his press conference on Friday, and said: "I cannot say much, Cristiano was at Juventus, I think a Juventus player. Only I can say that in the three or four days left in the transfer window everything can happen.
In my personal view there are few players, Ronaldo and Messi included, that they decide where they are going to play. They are the leading role in the negotiations. Right now I'm delighted with the squad we have and we'll stay the same.
"There are many things now that are far, far away."
But it seems a return to Old Trafford is now favourite following an intervention from Ferguson. Manchester United have made major progress in a deal to bring their former number seven back to where he first stamped his name on to world-class status.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer teased the media earlier on Friday regarding a Ronaldo return in his press conference, saying he "knows we are here" if the forward wanted to leave Italy.
Solskjaer said: "I don't want to speculate too much - he is a legend of this club, the greatest player of all time if you ask me. I was fortunate enough to play with him, to coach him... such a tremendous human being as well. Let's see, everyone who has played with him has a soft spot for him.
“We’ve always had a good communication. Bruno’s been talking to him as well and he knows what we feel about him.
If he was ever going to make a move away from Juventus, he knows we are here.
Ronaldo wasn’t present in training on Friday, as a move away looks almost certain now. The question is, to where?
The Portuguese spent six successful years at Old Trafford under Ferguson, where he won four Premier League title and became a European Champion for the first time.
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In 2009 he made a world-record move to Real Madrid in 2009 in a deal worth around £85m.
It was in Spain he tasted the most of his success, he won a further four Champions League titles and as many Ballon d’Or medals whilst at Madrid, adding to the one he won at United in 2008.
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