Former Tottenham star Bale is also believed to be on Louis van Gaal’s shopping list and Sky Sports pundit Neville says it would be a shrewder move to bring in Bale, 26, than an emotion-led move for Ronaldo.
“I am not sure it is such a good thing for Cristiano to come back,” Neville told the Sunday People.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“He does like warm weather. He likes the sun and we know that from when he was here. That’s not a criticism of him, he was just used to that.
“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.”