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By ESPN Staff

'Cristiano will be coming back', insists Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Manchester United.

Ronaldo's Old Trafford future has been in doubt for weeks after he twice claimed he wanted to leave United in favour of a big-money move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

The winger is also aware his involvement in Wayne Rooney's dismissal during England's World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal will turn him into public enemy number one if he plays in the Premiership next year.

However, a statement from United last week indicated a strong desire for the 21-year-old to see out his current contract, which does not expire until 2010, while Rooney is also thought to have offered an olive branch to his team-mate.

Despite this, there are still suggestions Ronaldo wants to move away, although Ferguson appears relaxed about the situation.

The former Sporting Lisbon star is due to return from his summer break in a fortnight and the United boss expects to see him them.

'Cristiano will be coming back,' he said ahead of tomorrow's friendly with the Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town.

Although the statement was brief, it indicated a clear belief Ferguson will be able to ease Ronaldo's fears once he returns to United's Carrington training ground and that the player will figure when the Red Devils open their Premiership campaign against Fulham on August 20.

While there are conflicting reports about the Chelsea coach's opinions, Ferguson also appears to have some backing from Jose Mourinho, who shares an agent with Ronaldo.

There are some suggestions Mourinho has advised the player to quit Old Trafford if he is to start collecting medals on a regular basis, although, at a presentation ceremony in his home town of Setubal, he stated Ronaldo should stay and advised him to keep his mouth shut in future.

'If he stays in England, I think he can turn things around,' said Mourinho.

'I think football players should play a lot and talk very little. He should keep quiet and do his job.'

Mourinho also again reiterated his desire to one day coach his national team.

'I said it before, I want it. When I do - and when Portugal does too - I hope we can arrange it,' Mourinho said.