But then the world's most expensive footballer, currently based near Dublin on a pre-season tour with Real, shrugged it off and explained that it was time for a new challenge after his time in England, where he won the highest honours, both individually and as part of a team.
"It was not an easy situation," he said. "I arrived at Manchester when I was 18 years old, and I was there for six years. It is a long time, and I won many things, both collectively and individually. I met very good people there so it is not easy, but life is a challenge, and I think it is a good move. I hope to be as happy here as I was in Manchester."
Those six years spent under United manager Sir Alex Ferguson seem to have instilled a greater degree of loyalty in Ronaldo than the effect two seasons at Old Trafford had on forward Carlos Tevez, now at Manchester City.
Not only did Ronaldo stress that he had "never" considered crossing the Manchester divide, his response to the suggestion that Mark Hughes's side might qualify for the Champions League next season was similarly candid. "I hope not," he joked.
But let's face facts: Ronaldo has not been overcome by sentimentality quite yet. City, or any other Premier League team, are no longer his concern. "I don't care what Manchester City are going to do," he said. "I have to concentrate on my team." And what is the target for the coming season? Simple. "We have to win the league."