Marca’s Monday edition warns Atlético Madrid supporters to get set for a Cristiano culebrón for the remainder of the summer transfer window.
#LaPortada Madera de líder pic.twitter.com/Xp9aiWHHWd— MARCA (@marca) July 24, 2022
David Medina, who has a direct line to Atlético’s board, has said there are “10 keys” to the still-unfolding saga involving Cristiano Ronaldo, his current club Manchester United, and his purported suitors at the Cívitas Metropolitano.
Medina says the message coming from Atlético’s offices is that a transfer for the 37-year-old megastar is “unfeasible,” but Ronaldo’s entourage — headed by longtime agent Jorge Mendes — insists “nothing can be ruled out.”
As everyone knows, the Rojiblancos are not currently in a position to incorporate Ronaldo into their team — Medina himself has reported Atlético are “drowning in salaries,” with large contracts and revenue losses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to the club’s penny-pinching approach this close season.
(At the time of this writing, only Axel Witsel and Samuel Lino have been confirmed as new signings for the 2022/23 season, for a total of €6.5 million in transfer fees.)
But Medina believes/Atlético believe there is a pathway to signing the disgruntled Ronaldo.
At least two players would need to be sold, and one has to be Ronaldo’s former teammate Álvaro Morata, who is still wanted at Juventus and still doesn’t figure prominently in Diego Simeone’s plans for the coming season. The Spain forward is much more likely to receive the desired minutes under Max Allegri, and a deal could yet be done — likely for less than Atleti’s €35 million asking price.
The other exit might be another forward, midfielder Thomas Lemar (whose new, lower salary is more palatable for interested clubs), or Saúl Ñíguez — who is very much back from Chelsea but does not have a clear role to play under Simeone. It’s possible selling a combination of fringe players could open enough breathing room to go after Ronaldo.
The player would also have to agree to a salary reduction, which it seems he is prepared to do:
As previously reported, Ronaldo open to Atleti and willing to take a significant pay cut, as high as 30%. Still a very difficult deal for Atleti to finance. Mendes continues to push. #MUFC sticking to their ‘not for sale’ stance. That will be tested if a concrete offer arrives.— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) July 23, 2022
Simeone may (according to Tania Martín) or may not (according to Medina) be aware of the developments but he is said to be in favor of acquiring Ronaldo, despite his decorated past as a Real Madrid player who routinely tortured Cholo’s Colchoneros and put them out of the Champions League at each knockout phase (except for this past season).
Regarding the Champions League, Ronaldo’s ambition is to win it for a sixth time. Per the Marca report, he believes Atlético have a squad capable of winning that trophy — which would be a first in club history.
Though Mendes, through his relationship with Atlético executives, is working to facilitate the move, there are reportedly members of Ronaldo’s inner circle who would like the 37-year-old to stay at Old Trafford and help return Man United to its former glory. And Ronaldo, who is far and away Madrid’s all-time top scorer, understands moving to the Metropolitano would be unpopular with Madridistas — and with many of Atlético’s own fans.
There has been a steady drip of Ronaldo-to-Atlético rumors over the past 10 days or so, which leads me to believe there is some fire behind the smoke. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be worth discussing. Ronaldo is perhaps the most-reviled opposing player ever to face Atlético, certainly during the Simeone Era, and simply trying to sign him — let alone actually doing it — is a significantly-more controversial “market opportunity” than the Luis Suárez pursuit of 2020.
Where Cristiano goes, a circus follows. The Portuguese forced his way out of his previous two clubs, and he is trying to do the same now. So far, United aren’t entertaining selling him. I suppose that over the next few weeks, we will see how much Atleti are willing to part with — and just how far the club is willing to go — to join that circus.
Given the chance, should Atlético de Madrid sign Cristiano Ronaldo?
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Yes, for sure
No, no way