When the Portuguese secured his blockbuster return to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ in the summer, you only needed to spend a second scrolling through Twitter to see just how much it meant to the fans.
Ronaldo’s Old Trafford exit
Of course, we now have the foresight of knowing that Ronaldo and United would one day renew their vows, but you could forgive Red Devils fans for feeling as though it was a permanent divorce.
As such, the Premier League giants would have to feed off the potential of encounters with Los Blancos over the coming years to get their fix of Ronaldo back at the club that made him.
Man Utd 1-0 Palace Tactical Analysis (Football Terrace)
Man Utd vs Real Madrid in 2013
And across Ronaldo’s spectacular nine years in the Spanish capital, he only actually crossed paths with United once as they met in the round of 16 during the 2012/13 Champions League season.
The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu with Ronaldo scoring a gravity-defying header, but it was the return game that felt extra special as it marked his return to Old Trafford after four years.
In the end, Real emerged as victors with Nani’s controversial red card allowing them to fight back from Sergio Ramos’ own goal to win 2-1 courtesy of strikes from Luka Modric and naturally, Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s conflicted interview
And not only did Ronaldo refuse to celebrate what ultimately proved to be the winner, but you could tell in his post-match interview with Sky Sports that he had mixed feelings about eliminating United.
Almost a decade on from Ronaldo’s return to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, it really is fascinating to see him going through the emotional struggle of head vs heart having returned to his footballing home.
As such, be sure to check out what makes for a truly unique interview from Ronaldo down below:
He certainly doesn’t cut the figure of someone who’s just qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals, does he?
Mixed feelings from Ronaldo
A subdued Ronaldo even went as far as claiming that he thought United should have qualified too as he described an ’emotional’ night where it was ‘unbelievable’ to return to his ‘second home’.
And when directly asked about scoring the winner, Ronaldo was remarkably honest in explaining that he felt as though he’d been ‘shy’ in the way he’d played both games because it was United.
Whichever way you look at it, Ronaldo’s emotions pointed an undying love and affection for United, particularly – presumably – because it was his first time back and Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge.
But whether or not he knew it when he stepped in front of the Sky Sports cameras on that day more than eight years ago, he would once again return to Old Trafford in 2021 as a United player.