Atletico Madrid fans have protested against the potential signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, with banners expressing their displeasure at the prospect of the former Real Madrid forward joining during a pre-season friendly.
Atletico Madrid have ruled out a move for Ronaldo, along with Bayern Munich, but that didn’t stop some supporters displaying banners as third-tier Numancia were beaten 4-0 at the Estadio Municipal de El Burgo de Osma on Wednesday.
Atletico’s core fanbase said the Portuguese star does not fit with the club’s ethos with a banner behind the goal unfurled with the message ‘CR7 NOT WELCOME’ during the pre-season friendly.
Ronaldo held talks over his Manchester United future with boss Erik ten Hag on Tuesday. The 37-year-old arrived at United’s Carrington training ground with his agent Jorge Mendes on Tuesday morning for talks.
Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was also seen arriving but it is understood he was there for a regular board meeting with chief executive Richard Arnold.
Ronaldo returned to the UK on Monday after missing the club’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia due to family reasons, with the explanation accepted by the club.
Ten Hag admitted he was unclear over the situation ahead of the tour – but Ronaldo is now back in the United setup after training away from the squad in recent weeks.
The Portugal captain has told United he wants to leave this summer amid concerns he will be unable to compete for the biggest trophies at the club.
But United’s stance regarding Ronaldo’s future has remained unchanged: United are willing to listen to offers for Ronaldo this summer, Sky Sports News understands, but the club’s public stance remains that he is not for sale.
Ten Hag said in Bangkok that Ronaldo, who has one year remaining on his United contract, is in his plans for the season ahead and expects him to stay at the club.
“We are planning for Cristiano Ronaldo for the season and that’s it. I’m looking forward to working with him. Cristiano is not for sale. He is in our plans and we want success together,” the Dutchman said.
“He’s not with us and it’s due to personal issues. I spoke with him before this issue came up. I had a conversation with him and I had a good talk. That is between Cristiano and me. What I can confirm is we had a really good conversation together. I didn’t speak to him after (the news).”
Atletico and Bayern both rule out signing Ronaldo
Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich have both ruled themselves out of the running to sign Ronaldo.
Atletico were linked with a move for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner but their president Enrique Cerezo has labelled a move for the Real Madrid icon as “practically impossible”.
“I’ve already said this several times, I don’t know who invented the Cristiano story but I’ll tell you that it’s practically impossible that he comes to Atletico de Madrid,” Cerezo told reporters on Tuesday, via El Partidazo De Cope.
“Rumours are rumours and they have to stay as rumours. If you keep on fuelling the rumours then eventually it will look like it’s something real, which it’s not.”
Meanwhile, Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn said that, despite initial consideration and even after losing star striker Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona, the Bundesliga champions will not be pursuing a move for Ronaldo.
Earlier in July, Kahn told German magazine Kicker that Ronaldo does not fit into the club’s recruitment philosophy, and he reiterated the remarks in an interview with Bild.
“We discussed about Cristiano Ronaldo internally, I consider him one of greatest players ever,” Kahn said.
“Then we came to conclusion that, despite appreciation for Cristiano, he would not fit into our philosophy in the current situation.”
Has Ronaldo run out of options?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
“As we’ve seen on Instagram, Ronaldo has been keeping fit, so there are no concerns from Manchester United over his fitness or physical level; he’s one of the fittest players in world football.
“Ultimately, Ronaldo did state his desire to leave Old Trafford, but he’s running out of options, and it seems like he’s actually going to have to stay. Perhaps he will try and swing it where the 25 per cent pay cut in his contract will be waived away by United, perhaps he wants to manoeuvre and muscle a new deal, we’ll have to wait and see. But it doesn’t look like Stamford Bridge is on his cards.
“Chelsea have distanced themselves from a deal for Ronaldo, as have Bayern Munich, Napoli and a lot of other elite clubs that Jorge Mendes, who is Ronaldo’s agent, has tried to sell him to.
“That offer from Saudi Arabia is astronomical but ultimately, it does not give Cristiano Ronaldo what he wants, which is that legacy. He wants to achieve Champions League records that he thinks no one else will be able to attain in the future.
“He wants to sign off at the absolute highest level. Now, it looks increasingly like he will have to stay at Manchester United because there are no biters from the big clubs.
“Everyone has their forwards already, and Chelsea, who are the only club looking like they could actually potentially be spun by what Cristiano Ronaldo offers off the pitch because we were told that Mendes, while being in front of these clubs, was putting forward his numbers in terms of social media influence, sponsorship that he rakes in, the commercial gain of his shirt sales and stuff like that. But even they now say he is not in their plans. Their immediate aim is to strengthen the defence.
“So, that leaves Ronaldo really with not many choices. We know that he does want to be competing at the highest level so if he does go to Saudi Arabia that cuts against everything he has said and everything we actually know about him and his career.
“Manchester United have always been very calm and very comfortable. They have insisted he is not for sale, and he will see out the last year of his contract. How they manoeuvre this now going forward we’ll see, but Ronaldo is keeping fit, so they have no issues or problems or fears over what state he’ll report back to pre-season in.”
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