Speculation Ronaldo is interested in a return to United increased this week when former Real president Ramon Calderon claimed the Portuguese super star was “fed up” at the club’s decision to sell a number of players, including Angel di Maria, who is now playing under Van Gaal at Old Trafford.
The United manager, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League clash with Leicester, did little to quash those rumours. When asked whether he could bring Ronaldo back to United, where he enjoyed six successful years, Van Gaal said: “Yes, but it’s always a discussion in the papers, and I don’t think the media shall buy Ronaldo.”
When pushed on the matter again, the United manager said: “It is possible. That’s what I have said with Falcao. Players like Ronaldo give a lot of extra to a team, but I don’t think Real shall sell him.”
Ronaldo won eight major trophies under Alex Ferguson before moving to the Bernabeu five years ago in a then world-record £80m transfer.
The current world player of the year, now 29, hinted last month he would be interested in moving back to his former club. “I love Manchester and you never know in football. Of course I’m happy at Real Madrid; it’s my home, it’s my club, but United treated me unbelievably, so you never know,” Ronaldo told MUTV.
“I am still in contact with some people there because I had a good relationship with everybody — it was like my second family.”
Meanwhile Leicester boss Nigel Pearson feels United have got their “swagger” back.
The Foxes chief admits Van Gaal’s side are starting to click after they kick-started their season last week. A 4-0 League win over QPR was their first win of the season under Van Gaal after a troubled start which saw them lose to Swansea and suffer a 4-0 humiliation at MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.
But Pearson insisted United have begun their road to recovery ahead of their clash at the King Power Stadium. He said: “United look like they have a swagger back, they have added quality. Whenever there is a change in manager you can have people who have a short-term impact. When you have someone in charge for as long as Sir Alex the transition period will never be easy.
“They have been a huge presence within the English game for a long time. I’m sure they will reignite that at some point.”
Leicester have impressed on their return to the Premier League after a decade away, drawing at home to Everton and Arsenal before their opening win at Stoke last week. They still earned plaudits in a narrow defeat at Chelsea and Pearson wants his side to maintain their momentum tomorrow.
He said: “If you look at the Arsenal game, there is no doubt there was a spirit and togetherness. We have some very exciting players and prospects.
“We can’t be happy with what we’ve done so far. I don’t know what system they (United) will play to start with. It will be interesting in itself. They have some very good players, there is no doubt about that. Can we play the game not the occasion?
“The scrutiny and build up to games like this would suggest there is an awful lot at stake. That in itself can bring different pressures.
“We have to get our preparation right and try and not get too wrapped up in the occasion.”