Sir Alex Ferguson does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo will ever return to Manchester United.
Nearly four years after leaving for Real Madrid in a world record £80million deal, Ronaldo will be back at Old Trafford on March 5 to try and help his current team knock his old one out of the Champions League.
It is bound to rekindle memories of the brilliance Ronaldo brought to the Premier League in his six-year stint with the Red Devils, as well as trigger thoughts about whether it ever could be revived. Ferguson has spoken optimistically about the prospect in the past - and he still won't rule it out completely. However, the Scot said: "I don't see it."
He added: "I would love to think it. Maybe when he is about 39 and you are coming past my grave, but it is fanciful thinking really. First of all how much would it take to get him from Real Madrid? Secondly I don't think there is any chance they would want to sell him anyway.
"You never know. I don't know when his contract finishes and he may want to go to another club at some point in his career. Of course I would hope he'd want to come here. But that is a long way off."
Ronaldo's return is fixed though. And Ferguson knows the player he spent £12.24million on to sign from Sporting Lisbon as a 17-year-old in 2003 represents a significant threat to his side's hopes of progression in Europe's most prestigious competition.
So much so that Ferguson's first thought when he heard the draw was to check the small print of that world record transfer.
"Our contract with Real is that he can't play against us," laughed the Scot.
"I think it would be a disgrace if he played against us. It would be no loyalty."