Rio Ferdinand: "I hope" Ronaldo returns to Man United

Rio Ferdinand has admitted that like most Manchester United fans, he's hoping to see Cristiano Ronaldo return to the club amid rumours of a Real Madrid exit.

The Portuguese has been accused of tax avoidance in Spain and in the aftermath of those reports, it emerged that he wants a new challenge away from Spain having achieved all he can with the 12-time European Champions.

Ferdinand: 'I hope' Ronaldo comes back

Links to his former club United have obviously emerged, as they do almost annually. Whether there is any truth in them is yet to be seen, but Ferdinand, a former teammate of Ronaldo and a great friend, is one hoping it could happen.

Rio admits he doesn't know about Ronaldo's future

Speaking at an event in Belfast, Ferdinand is quoted by the Manchester Evening News as saying "I hope" he comes back to United having left for a then world-record £80m in 2009.

"I'm a Man United fan, and my kids love him, so I hope that he'll be back. But will he leave Real Madrid? I don't know."

There have been suggestions that Ronaldo is using links to both United and Paris Saint-Germain to earn a new contract at Real Madrid or in hope of stopping or quietening allegations of tax avoidance against him.

Ronaldo has €1bn release clause

However, player nor club has denied rumours of an exit after eight years at Real Madrid. If he were to leave, Ronaldo would likely break the world-record transfer fee for the second time in his career. His release clause is €1billion and although a transfer would not be as much, it would likely be at least £130m.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was re-elected on Monday, said that "the only thing I can say is Cristiano Ronaldo is a Real Madrid player."