Cristiano Ronaldo: Liverpool favourite cited, as UCL manager explains decision on signing Man Utd striker

Ben Stewart
Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd August 2022

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has explained his stance on signing Man United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, amid recent links.

Ronaldo was linked with several top European clubs throughout the summer transfer window, but nothing materialised. The 37-year-old has spent most of the season on the bench at Old Trafford so far.

Six of his seven Premier League appearances have been as a substitute and he has only played 268 minutes of league football.

The majority of his appearances have come in the Europa League up until this point. He has two goal contributions in the UEL with United up until this point.

Across all competitions, he has scored two goals this season and game to United’s rescue against Everton.

Ronaldo’s strike at Goodison Park was his 700th club goal and served as a reminder of what he can still do.

The Portuguese forward is still one of the highest-paid players in world football and his future remains up in the air.

Simeone clarifies his stance

Atletico Madrid were said to be considering a move for Ronaldo in the summer, but Simeone has outlined his thoughts on the situation.

The Argentine told journalist Martin Liberman: “Cristiano Ronaldo’s possible arrival at Atletico de Madrid in the summer?

“The little birds [journalists] told you anything far from what has happened – people speak sometimes to tell what they want to tell, not reality. Ronaldo is an absolute benchmark for Real Madrid.

“I wouldn’t see [Martin] Palermo or [Juan Roman] Riquelme playing in River or [Ariel] Ortega in Boca. There are situations that are very clear.”

Ronaldo has quite the history with Atletico Madrid and was their nemesis on plenty of occasions in the Champions League.

A vocal section of the Atletico supporters made their stance clear on the potential signing of Ronaldo.

Simeone added: “A fan yelled at me in a preseason game, without knowing anything about what was happening but because of the rumours, a great phrase: ‘Cholo, be careful, the Champions League is not at all costs.’

“I liked it because it is a very healthy reflection, from a fan, from the heart and reflecting what I felt at the time, beyond not denying Ronaldo’s story.”

Atletico Madrid had signed Barcelona fan favourite Luis Suarez a few years ago. Lime Ronaldo, the ex-Liverpool superstar was in the autumn of his career, but Simeone stressed Ronaldo’s situation was different.

The Atletico boss clarified: “It is not the same as Luis Suarez’s arrival if Cristiano Ronaldo had arrived.”

What’s next for Ronaldo?

Ronaldo’s current deal at Old Trafford expires in June 2023. Although, the club does have the option to extend his deal by a further year should they choose.

Man United are expected to go after another forward in the upcoming transfer window which could free up Ronaldo to leave.

Despite his limited game time, he would certainly still be of use to several top European sides.

Chelsea have been a long-term admirer of the Man United forward. Given Todd Boehly is keen to make a statement signing, Ronaldo could be their man.

Ronaldo himself will be more than keen to have one final crack at the Champions League. Though per Simeone, that won’t be at Atletico.

Ronaldo is the competition’s all-time top scorer with 140 goals. Lionel Messi is currently only 13 goals behind his tally in Europe.

The Portuguese superstar has won the competition five times in total and may want one final chance of glory. The likes of Napoli, PSG and Sporting Lisbon have also previously been mentioned.

Given his current age and circumstances, the clock is ticking on Ronaldo’s next decision.

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