United are now putting together a £60 million bid for Ronaldo after he denied Madrid claims he'd held new contract talks with Real.
The Daily Mail says on the night Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford with Madrid in the Champions League last March, Ferguson insisted United break with tradition by having the visiting team names announced second and that Ronaldo's name should be left until last.
This was designed to serve two purposes. Ferguson thought primarily that the ovation it triggered for Ronaldo may just be unsettling, reminding the player how much attention was on him that night.
Undoubtedly, though, Ferguson also knew the reception for Ronaldo from the home fans that night would be a reminder of how much they loved him. Whether any of it makes any difference remains to be seen.