Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd transfer news: Cristiano Ronaldo called twice by manager of Euro giant who can satisfy UCL desire

Man Utd striker Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has been called by the manager of a European powerhouse who can match his Champions League ambitions, per a report.

The Portuguese legend, 37, was greeted with a hero’s reception upon returning to Old Trafford last summer. However, after just 12 months, it looks like his stay will be a short one.

Ronaldo has made clear his desire to continue his Champions League legacy. He is currently the top scorer in the competition with 140. Lionel Messi trails by 15 goals with 125 in second.

Manchester United were made to settle for a Europa League campaign after finishing sixth last year. At 37, Ronaldo does not want to waste a precious year in an inferior competition so late in his career.

The likes of Bayern Munich and Chelsea drew immediate links. However, both moves were quickly dismissed, with a Thomas Tuchel factor noted to be preventing a move to Stamford Bridge.

Agent Jorge Mendes reportedly tried and failed to engineer moves to Inter Milan and AC Milan. At present, the only potential suitor seemingly in the mix is Atletico Madrid.

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague reported Ronaldo is open to joining Atletico despite the severe fan backlash that would await. Ronaldo is a club legend at cross-city rivals Real Madrid.

Atletico do have recent form for signing big name strikers at the tail-end of their careers. Indeed, they found great success with Luis Suarez.

United’s stance of their striker not being for sale has also shifted, per the Times. Erik ten Hag now wants rid of Ronaldo who is proving a troublesome influence at Old Trafford.

Simeone calls Ronaldo twice – report

Now, Spanish outlet Sport add fuel to the fire regarding an Atletico switch. They quote journalist Edu Aguirre who is also termed a ‘friend’ of the Portuguese icon.

Aguirre claimed Atletico boss Diego Simeone has personally called Ronaldo, presumably to chew the fat over a potential transfer back to Spain.

“It was Simeone who called Cristiano and not the other way around,” said Aguirre.

“Let no one sell anything else because it is not true.”

The report concluded the call was not a one-off, with Simeone contacting Ronaldo a second time too.

Transfer saga doing Ten Hag no favours

Even if Ronaldo weren’t causing issues behind the scenes with morale, the simple truth is he is not a good fit for Ten Hag’s system.

The Dutchman wants his forward to press high and be on the front foot. At 37, he does not have the legs to satisfy that demand.

United looked a potent force in pre-season when deploying Rashford, Martial and Sancho in a front three.

Martial in particular looked a man on a mission and when his hamstring injury has cleared, may well be the starter even if Ronaldo stays.

Yet Ronaldo warming the bench every week will bring a new set of problems Ten Hag can do without.

His job of rebuilding Man Utd is already difficult enough. He does not need a sideshow from a declining legend piled on to his plate too.