Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo could be set for a sensational return to Manchester United.

United and Real Madrid have been negotiating a potential transfer involving the Portuguese soccer superstar for nearly two weeks, and the deal could be worth around £80 million ($122.2 million), according to the Star.

“[United manager] David Moyes made his move two weeks ago when the club heard through the grapevine Madrid had stepped up their interest in signing Gareth Bale,” the report says.

“And for the first time they found their Spanish rivals prepared to negotiate after the player told them he would be interested in returning to England.”

Real Madrid hopes to sign Ronaldo to a contract extension, as his current deal expires in 2015. He has refused to do so since late 2012, despite his club’s public assurances that he would. He put his $7 million villa up for sale in early June, suggesting he is ready to leave Madrid. Real Madrid has made last-ditch efforts to sign Ronaldo to a new deal, but he might have his heart set on a return to Old Trafford.

“New United chief executive Ed Woodward made contact with Real president Florentino Perez in the knowledge Ronaldo had yet to agree and extension to his current deal at the Bernabau which has just two years left to run,” the report continues.

“Starsport understands Perez then sought assurances Ronaldo would commit to the new deal — and was stunned to learn he was keen on returning to Manchester instead.

“That forced them to open up to United’s advances, knowing they would only get a fraction of the fee for one of the world’s best players if he stayed another season.”

The reported transfer fee and Ronaldo’s salary would take up a significant portion of United’s resources, so the Premier League champion is seeking the help of sponsors Nike and General Motors. The two corporations could make Ronaldo their leading global ambassador, which would contribute to his overall compensation and make his United return a more attractive proposition.

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