Sir Alex Ferguson insists he has heard nothing that would encourage him to believe Cristiano Ronaldo could make a return to Manchester United.
Speculation persists that Ronaldo could leave Real Madrid, with the Sun on Sunday claiming that the Portugal star has told his advisers he would accept a substantial pay-cut to return to Old Trafford. Paris Saint-Germain have also been strongly linked.
However, Ronaldo - who had told reporters in September that he was unhappy at Madrid - said last month that he was enjoying playing for the club again, and Ferguson does not think there is any prospect of a deal.
“There hasn’t been anything to encourage me to think Cristiano would come back here," Ferguson told the media. "As far as I am aware, there is nothing in it at all.”
Ferguson suggested that Ronaldo’s representatives may be leaking the stories in order to boost the 28-year-old’s chances of securing a lucrative contract extension.
“Ronaldo has got two years left on his contract and it seems to me it is all part of the negotiations that are going on about a new deal,” he added. “Maybe his agent is playing the game. I think it is false hope.”
Ronaldo will make his return to Old Trafford with his current club on Tuesday for the second leg of the teams’ Champions League last-16 tie, which remains in the balance after a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.
“Cristiano will get a good reception,” Ferguson said. “All our former players, especially the ones who have been great for this club, get a good reception when they return."
He added: "He is a better player now than he was when he was with us because he has matured. He is 28 and at the peak of his career. From 28 to 32, with the fitness Ronaldo has got - he never misses a game and is never injured - he will be at his absolute best.
“I’ve got a plan to stop him: it’s called a machete. Plan B is a machine gun!”
Patrice Evra, meanwhile, is hoping emotion will get the better of Ronaldo.
“It is difficult when you play with love,” Evra told MUTV. “Cristiano will get a great reception on Tuesday because of what he achieved for Manchester United. The fans will never forget what he did.
“Also, he still loves the club. I remember after the game in Madrid we had a chat. He said it was going to be more difficult to come here.
“This is his house, so there will be a lot of emotion. I hope he doesn't play well because of that, but Ronaldo is a winner. He is a big competitor. If he can win against Manchester United he will do it.”