Cristiano Ronaldo made a return to his spiritual home in rejoining Manchester United from Juventus in the summer of 2021, but a door is being left open for him to head back to his roots at Sporting.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner took his first tentative steps down a road to greatness when bursting onto the senior stage in Lisbon, with his undoubted potential spotted by Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2003.
After spending the best part of 20 years cementing a legacy as one of the finest talents to have ever played the game, speculation is building once again regarding a potential retracing of steps to where it all began.
Will Ronaldo return to Sporting?
Questions have been asked of how long Ronaldo will be sticking around at Old Trafford, with United enduring a testing 2021-22 campaign, but he does still have 12 months left to run on his contract.
That is making it difficult for Sporting to consider doing a deal at this stage, but club director Hugo Viana has told Sky Sports when quizzed on interest in the 37-year-old icon: “I think not now that will be possible, but you never know.
“I think he can decide where he can go, but we never know the future. I don’t want to talk a lot about that because I think when we talk about Cristiano it is quite different.
“I think he has one year more contract so whatever he decides, let’s see.”
Can Ronaldo still star for Man Utd?
For now, amid speculation linking him with Bayern Munich and Chelsea, Ronaldo remains tied to Premier League heavyweights that are crying out for inspiration from somewhere.
One of the greatest goalscorers of all-time found the target on 24 occasions for the Red Devils last season, with his own standards being maintained while many of those around him struggled for a spark.
Viana believes that Ronaldo still has plenty left in the tank, with there still a role for him to play in a new era for United under the guidance of incoming coach Erik ten Hag.
“It’s time for Man United to stabilise, create a good spirit inside of the club,” a man that spent time with Newcastle in his playing days added.
“I think it’s not – I don’t know for sure – but what I can see from outside that it’s not what happens now. But I think there is always time to rebuild everything.
“With players like Cristiano of course, there is a player that scores 20, 25 goals for sure per season and it’s really important to have that kind of player in your team.