Atletico Madrid fans have urged the club to rule out signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, displaying a protest at a pre-season friendly and warning that he is the “antithesis of the club’s values of modesty and humility”.
Atletico have been one of the clubs linked to signing Ronaldo since it was reported that the 37-year-old wanted to leave Manchester United this summer and the Portuguese international’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has used the Spanish club to stoke up interest.
Ronaldo had a successful spell playing with Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid and had a fractious relationship with their fans during his time in Spain. Ronaldo also has a history of scoring important goals against Atletico, including the winning penalty in the 2016 Champions League final.
While Atletico’s president Enrique Cerezo said a move for Ronaldo was “practically impossible” due to financial reasons on Wednesday, one of the club’s official supporters groups released a statement demanding that they distance themselves from the forward. A banner was also unfurled during Atletico’s friendly match against CD Numancia, stating: “CR7 not welcome”.
The statement from the Union Internacional de Peñas Atletico de Madrid read: "In light of the possibility of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, if it is more than a simple rumour without any basis, we express our absolute rejection of his hypothetical joining of our club.
"The aforementioned player represents the antithesis of the values that constitute the hallmarks of our Atleti, such as the effort, generosity, modesty and humility of those who want to defend our values.
"Even in the highly unlikely hypothetical case that a player in steep decline such as Cristiano Ronaldo could guarantee us a trophy, we wouldn’t accept his signing. The sense of being a part of our Atletico feeling isn’t within his reach, unfortunately for him, and as such he could never receive our affection or recognition.
"As such, we ask the club to reject his possible signing, if it has indeed been considered at any time."
Ronaldo’s future has been the subject of intense speculation since he did not travel on United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, citing “family reasons”.
Ronaldo is understood to want to join a club with a realistic chance to win the Champions League and compete for major honours.
Manchester United have been insistent that Ronaldo is not for sale and the 37-year-old held showdown talks at United’s Carrington training base with agent Mendes and manager Erik ten Hag on Tuesday.