By Alex Stevens

Manchester United should forget about enticing back Cristiano Ronaldo – and sign Gareth Bale instead.

That is the verdict of Gary Neville, who believes it would be a mistake for the reigning World Player of the Year to return to Old Trafford.

Football Insider revealed last month that United will put together a £200million package to attempt to prise Ronaldo from Real Madrid next year.

“I’d prefer us to get Gareth Bale and that’s no disrespect to Cristiano who I think is possibly the biggest talent I have ever played with – not the best player I ever played with – but the biggest talent,” Neville added.

“He is an amazing player and what he did for two years at United was out of this world and it was a privilege to be part of it. But the idea of coming back as his swansong… it won’t be the same for him as it was before.

“It will not be the same for him as it was before but it won’t be the same for us and I am not sure. It would be about emotion. And I am not sure emotion and sport go together really in that way.”

Ronaldo spent six trophy-laden years at United before joining Real Madrid, where he has cemented his place as one of the all-time greats.

While the 30-year-old has repeatedly stated he is happy at the Bernabeu, he has refused to rule out a return to Old Trafford in the future.

Teen spirit: Cristiano Ronaldo joined United as an 18-year-old

Teen spirit: Cristiano Ronaldo joined United as an 18-year-old

“I am not sure it is such a good thing for Cristiano to come back,” Neville said. “The emotion says come back but do you remember when Newcastle used to bring back their old players to be manager?

“And then Liverpool started doing it and I thought, ‘No. Let’s not start becoming a club like that’ and this kind of pining for the past. I don’t really want that.”

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