Football: Manchester United boss van Gaal confirms interest in Cristiano Ronaldo return

Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Manchester United's former manager Alex Ferguson pose for photographers on the red carpet at the world premiere of the movie Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Manchester United's former manager Alex Ferguson pose for photographers on the red carpet at the world premiere of the movie Ronaldo.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal confirmed on Sunday that he would be interested in bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, six years after the superstar left for Real Madrid.

Van Gaal, quoted by several British Sunday newspapers, said: "We are looking at all players, not just Ronaldo. But these players are mostly ungettable.

"With Ronaldo, let's wait and hope. There is no trainer in the world that doesn't like him. He plays on the wings and he is fast, and scores goals."

Ronaldo cost Real Madrid a then world record fee of £80 million (S$172 million) when he left England in 2009 but he turns 31 in February and was off the boil in Saturday's 4-0 defeat by Barcelona where he cut a frustrated figure.

The Portuguese international is a three-time World Player of the Year and is Real Madrid's all-time leading goalcorer. In Spain, he has won one league title as well as the 2014 Champions League.

During his time under Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, he helped United win three Premier League titles as well as the 2008 Champions League.

Meanwhile, van Gaal conceded United are far from pretty to watch after they ground out a 2-1 victory at Watford on Saturday thanks to Troy Deeney's late own goal.

Van Gaal's side have been criticised for their conservative style of play under the Dutchman this season, but their latest defensive display paid dividends at Vicarage Road.

They had taken an 11th-minute lead through Memphis Depay and, although Deeney's 87th-minute penalty ended a run without conceding of 10 hours, United snatched the points at the death when Deeney turned Bastian Schweinsteiger's effort into his own net in stoppage time.

"I have changed the system," van Gaal said. "Our positional game was not so good and that was disappointing. I know some people think our positional game is boring but I think it is a way to disorganise the opponent's organisation.

"I was very satisfied about our defensive organisation. We didn't give more than three chances away, one in the first half and two in the second.

"Memphis and Jesse Lingard played a very good game. We could have finished the game much earlier. I have to say after the penalty, I thought we gave it away but then you see the spirit of the game.

"We created three chances in a row. It was an injection, the equaliser. I am very proud I am the manager of that team."