New Manchester United manager David Moyes has refused to rule out an approach for Cristiano Ronaldo - despite the forward’s insistence that he is happy at Real Madrid.
Speculation has been mounting for months that Ronaldo could be on his way back to Old Trafford, four years after he left for the Bernabeu for a world-record £80 million fee.
The Portugal international gave out mixed messages while speaking during a holiday in Monaco this week, saying that United were a club “that is still in my heart and I really, really miss”, but adding that “my future is at Real Madrid”.
Ronaldo, who remains on friendly terms with former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, did not dismiss the possibility of a return to Old Trafford at some point, though.
And Moyes, who has replaced the retiring Ferguson, has batted away attempts to ask him if a deal is on.
Asked directly about Ronaldo at a press conference on Friday, the former Everton manager said: "I would never speak about players at other football clubs, because I think it’s wrong. It’s not my style. The people who know me from Merseyside will tell you that.
"I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can. But when people are under contract at other clubs, it’s wrong to talk about them.
"But this club are always interested in the best players."
Ronaldo, who has scored 146 goals in 135 games for Real, has two years remaining on his contract in Madrid and has so far refused to discuss a new one.
It is thought that United would have to put in a bid of around £60 million to have any chance of doing a deal.
Moyes added: "Manchester United had a great season in the Premier League last year, and we will do everything we can to add to the squad.
"This club will always go after the best players. We’ll always be interested in them.
"We’ll do everything we can to make sure that we remain at the top. I’m looking forward to being given that challenge."
United remain keen on a deal for Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, but Moyes is cautious on the chances of any signings being made before the club head off on a pre-season tour of Asia next week.
He said: "I’ll try to bring in some players before the tour, but I couldn’t turn round and say yes to that. I’ll try if possible. Time’s closing in a little bit just now.
"The way the transfer window works, I think things might be done a little bit later in some cases this year.
"There are quite a few new managers in. I don’t think everything will be done right away. But if you had the ideal position, you’d get your players in as soon as you could."