Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has reignited the inferno of rumours surrounding his footballing future, telling a Spanish court judge that he wishes to return to England.
The 32-year-old is currently facing accusations of failing to pay €14.7m in taxes, having avoided the costs through the alleged use of companies based in Ireland and the British Virgin Islands.
As reported by Spanish football website AS, the Portuguese icon was grilled in court over his alleged tax avoidance, and made reference to his apparent desire to return to England. And addressing the judge, Ronaldo stated: "In England, I never had these problems, that's why I want to go back there.
"I always paid my taxes, always. In England and in Spain. And I always paid. As you know, I can not hide anything, it would be ridiculous on my part to do such a thing. I am an open book. you don't need to do anything but type my name into Google and everything about Cristiano comes out. For example, Forbes magazine releases all of my earnings."
As Ronaldo referenced, Forbes magazine estimated that the goal-machine earns around €93m a year. Half of this sum is thought to be made up from image rights deals with his vast collection of sponsors. The two-time Ballon d'Or winner has remained adamant that he has committed no crime amid the accusations aimed his way, and is determined to clear his name in court.
Fans of Manchester United may well be excited by Ronaldo's choice of words in court, and will be hoping that his comments are indicative of a genuine desire to return to the Premier League.
Ronaldo may have been merely making a flippant comment to emphasise his frustrations with the accusations he is facing, but those rumours of a return to United just won't go away...