Gareth Bale made his feelings very clear about Cristiano Ronaldo before his Man Utd return
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Comments made by Gareth Bale regarding Cristiano Ronaldo's 2021 return to Manchester United have re-emerged following the Wales legend's decision to retire from professional football.
Bale announced his immediate retirement from club and international football on Monday afternoon, writing in a statement: "I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love.
"It has truly given me some of the best moments of my life. The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me."
Bale has closed the curtain on a professional career that saw him score 185 club goals, and a further 41 goals for Wales. He is his nation's record goalscorer, and received the most caps of any Wales player (111).
His final appearance came at the 2022 World Cup, a 3-0 defeat to England. Despite Wales' early exit, however, as the last-placed team in Group B, Bale helped his nation to realise a dream of playing at their first World Cup in 64 years.
He spent the final six months of his club career at Major League Soccer side LAFC, helping them to win their first MLS Cup in November.
Bale teamed up with Ronaldo at Real Madrid, the pair going on to win four Champions League titles together. And the Welshman had comments to make about the Portugal legend's return to Manchester United.
Bale on Ronaldo's United return
Speaking after Ronaldo's move to Old Trafford was confirmed on deadline day, Bale was complimentary about his former Real Madrid team-mate (quotes via Manchester Evening News): "I'm sure he'll do well. He's proven it before in the Premier League, so he understands the league.
"He's done everything there in football. His goalscoring ability is matched by no-one else. [I am] excited to [see] it, like everyone else."
Ronaldo netted 24 goals in all competitions for United last season, but only scored three goals this term before exiting the club by mutual agreement in November.
Bale, meanwhile, was a top target of new United boss David Moyes in the summer of 2013, with the Scot revealing that the Red Devils offered more money than Real to bring him to Old Trafford - and had a helicopter waiting at the training ground for him to transport him from Spain for talks.
However, the winger chose to join the Spanish giants instead. How things could have been different for him - and, perhaps, Moyes - had he picked United instead is one for debate.