Of United's fans, Ronaldo told the News of the World: "I really could not have asked for any more from them. There were times when the whole of England was against me but they stood strong in their support and belief for me.
"While opposition fans' hate made me stronger, the love of the United support also made me stronger.
"I just want to say thank you for all their support. I will never forget them and I hope I have given them memories that will always be with them."
And if that doesn't appease those who wished him only good riddance, then a belated declaration of loyalty might. A declaration that even hints at the possibility of a return.
He said: "It would not feel right to play for anybody else in England apart from Manchester United. They have been my home for so long and it would feel like I was cheating if I played for anybody else."