Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a shock return to LaLiga – not with Real Madrid, where he built a legacy that surely marks him as the greatest player in their history, but with fierce city rivals Atletico.
Spanish outlet Diario AS have published a sensational report that the player could be on his way to city rivals Atletico Madrid in what would be a dagger to the hearts of all Los Blancos fans.
Ronaldo, 37, sent shockwaves through the footballing world after he requested a transfer away from Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United this summer, although he has not quite drawn the attention from other clubs he may have hoped for.
Cristiano Ronaldo created shockwaves when requesting a move away from Manchester United
Ronaldo posted a photo of himself in the gym wearing United training shorts on social media
According to the report, Ronaldo’s representatives have made contact with Diego Simeone’s side and persuaded the Argentine manager to make a move for the player.
If Diario’s staggering report were to prove true then it would surely be the transfer story of the summer, but the long-standing rivalry between Ronaldo and the club means there is plenty of scepticism over the validity of the claim.
After 311 goals in 292 games for Real, and victory over Atletico in not one but two Champions League finals in three years, Ronaldo became public enemy number one amongst Atleti fans, and a move would surely create friction with the fanbase.
Ronaldo wants to leave United after the club endured a disappointing campaign last season
Chelsea have distanced themselves from a move for Ronaldo as he looks to leave Man United
AS have reported Ronaldo’s representatives have convinced Diego Simeone to make a move
But Ronaldo would relish the chance to play Champions League football once again, and with other clubs like Chelsea and Bayern Munich distancing themselves from the Portuguese legend, Atletico would give him the opportunity to do so.
As well as Atletico, Ronaldo has also been linked with a shock return to boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, in what would be a sensational switch back to where it all began for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The Portuguese legend took to Instagram to deny rumours of a return to Sporting, after a photo was posted by Sport TV Portugal claiming his car was spotted at the club’s stadium.
But Ronaldo was straight to the point with his response to the claims, simply commenting: ‘Fake’.
Ronaldo quickly put the brakes on any rumours linking him with a return to Sporting Lisbon
And Sporting director Hugo Viana added to fans’ disappointment, saying: ‘I think not now – I don’t think it is possible, but you never know.
‘He can decide where he goes, but you never know the future. I don’t want to talk about that, but he has another year on his contract so whatever he decides, let’s see.’
The only bid the Red Devils have received for the player, who has one year left on his deal, is from an unnamed Saudi Arabian side which were offering Ronaldo an eye-watering £250million, but he has since rejected the deal.
Hasan Salihamidzic says Bayern Munich have no interest in bringing Ronaldo to the club