Cristiano Ronaldo has told Manchester United that he would like to return to the club - but not until next season at the earliest.
According to the Observer, the 28-year-old Real Madrid forward is open to the idea of an Old Trafford comeback, possibly for the last three or four years of his career.
The news comes at the end of a summer in which the Premier League champions explored the possibility of bringing the player back from Spain to England.
Although the club did not make a hard offer as such, they are said to be encouraged by the messages they have received about Ronaldo's interest in coming back in the future.
Hands up: Ronaldo's celebrations were muted after he scored against Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League at Old Trafford in March
United could launch an attempt to sign the Portuguese international ahead of the 2014/2015 season and are not discouraged by the high transfer fee that would be involved.
Ronaldo spent six years at United, signing for £12 million in 2003 at the age of 18 before being sold to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee of £80m.
Success: Ronaldo spent six years at Manchester United from 2003 to 2009