Would Cristiano Ronaldo fit at Atletico Madrid? How a potential transfer from Manchester United could work

With Manchester United faltering at the start of the 2022/23 Premier League season, Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at the Red Devils could be coming to an end as the summer transfer window approaches the September 1 deadline.

It seemed a foregone conclusion that the two sides would part ways during Ronaldo’s summer of dissatisfaction, but Man United’s new manager Erik ten Hag was initially staunch about the superstar’s importance to the squad.

While that seemed to calm things down a bit, the Red Devils’ exceptionally poor start to the Premier League season has reignited media excitement over Ronaldo’s departure. The 37-year-old has not scored in either of Man United’s first two Premier League games against Brighton and Brentford, which the club lost 6-1.

At the top of the rumor mill is a connection with Atletico Madrid that just won’t go away. Ronaldo, who first emerged over a month ago, remains linked with the La Liga side he ravaged during his nine-year tenure at the club’s local derby rivals Real Madrid. However, the relationship between Atletico and Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has often been cited as a possible catalyst for a transfer deal to materialise.

What would a possible move to Atlético Madrid look like for Cristiano Ronaldo? Would he be well received by Atleti fans or would they hate him even more? Could he give a jolt to a notoriously lifeless attack, or would he prove dead weight?

MORE: The latest on Cristiano Ronaldo transfer rumours

Why Cristiano Ronaldo would fit Atlético Madrid

There are a few good reasons why it would make sense for these rumors to persist throughout the summer.

Simeone has previously done so with Luis Suarez

Tactically, Cristiano Ronaldo could actually prove decent for Atletico Madrid. There is even evidence that a similar player has enjoyed recent success with the club: Luis Suarez, who previously represented Atlético rivals FC Barcelona.

The Uruguayan striker joined Atletico Madrid at the end of his career in the summer of 2020 at the age of 33 and spent two seasons with the club. In 67 La Liga games, Suarez has scored 32 goals, including 21 goals in 32 games in his first season at Atleti.

Diego Simeone’s side don’t use exhaustive high pressing, which Ronaldo found difficult to get used to during his time at Manchester United. At Atletico Madrid, Ronaldo could play his more relaxed style while his well-trained teammates look for him on the counter.

Ronaldo knows La Liga

At the height of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo rose to international fame with Real Madrid, becoming not only a club icon but also a world-renowned sportsman.

Ronaldo’s nine-year stint at Los Blancos saw him score an incredible 308 goals in 291 LaLiga games, proving his style suits the Spanish top flight very well.

While Ronaldo has changed his game since his last game for Real Madrid in 2018, shifting to a more goal-oriented mentality at the age of 37 to suit his physical abilities, his goalscoring mentality would still translate well to a league are rewarded, the high-quality finishers.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid

Ronaldo could take Joao Felix to the next level

Atletico Madrid invested heavily in Portuguese youngster Joao Felix in the summer of 2019, paying an incredible 139 million euros for the Benfica star.

Now, at the age of 22, there have been occasional signs of improvement but Joao Felix is ​​yet to pull it all together at Atletico Madrid. He hasn’t managed double-digit goals or assists in any of his three La Liga campaigns and some have questioned whether he should be classed as a bust.

Enter Joao Felix’s Portuguese teammate and captain Cristiano Ronaldo. The two have played sparingly together in the national team, but Felix’s only assist was ended by Ronaldo and two of Felix’s three international goals have been scored with Ronaldo on the field.

Ronaldo’s signing could add significantly to Joao Felix’s fortunes at Atletico Madrid and if he can help bring out the best in the rising star, that alone could be enough to justify Ronaldo’s signing.

MORE: Why Atletico Madrid fans don’t want Cristiano Ronaldo

Why Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn’t fit Atletico Madrid

And here are three reasons why a move from Ronaldo to Atletico Madrid might not work out so well:

Ronaldo hated by Atletico fans after Real Madrid ban

Throughout his career, Ronaldo has been the enemy of Atletico Madrid fans. The 37-year-old has played against Atleti 37 times in his career, more than any other club, and he has scored 25 goals against them, more than against anyone but Sevilla.

Some of those memorable performances include the 2014 Champions League final, when he scored and helped beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 in extra time, as well as two Copa del Rey misses.

He has scored two hat-tricks against Atleti in his career – first in the 2011/12 La Liga season, where Real Madrid finished 44 points clear in the table, and again in the 2016/17 Champions League semi-finals Atlético crashes.

MORE: A full history of Cristiano Ronaldo vs Atletico Madrid

Close to another hat-trick in the 2018/19 Champions League, Atletico defeated Ronaldo’s Juventus 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano, to which the Portuguese star responded by holding up five fingers towards Atleti fans as a reminder of his Champions League winners’ medals. Three weeks later, his sensational hat-trick in the second leg ensured a 3-2 aggregate victory and a place in the quarter-finals.

This story has caused hatred among Atletico Madrid fans and was featured at pre-season training this summer as fans protested the club’s ties to Ronaldo. The club’s main fan group issued a scathing statement, saying Ronaldo “represents the opposite of the values ​​that are hallmarks of our Atleti, such as effort, generosity, modesty and humility” and that the fan group “would not accept his commitment “.

The Sun ran an article interviewing an Atletico Madrid fan who echoed those sentiments, saying Ronaldo was “a player who disregarded the whole thing and laughed at it [Atletico Madrid] fan base”, and that Ronaldo “is the complete opposite of Atlético de Madrid’s philosophy.”

Ronaldo’s personality might not suit Atletico

At 37, Ronaldo is surrounded by the perception that he’s a self-centered, egotistical diva who doesn’t always respond well when things don’t go his way.

Just this preseason, the Portugal international reportedly left Old Trafford early after being substituted at half-time for Rayo Vallecano. New Man United boss Erik ten Hag was far from happy with Ronaldo’s untimely departure, calling it ‘unacceptable’ in comments to the media.

Atletico Madrid is a well-oiled machine built on hard work, team spirit and sacrifice. A player with Ronaldo’s personality could prove difficult, although manager Diego Simeone is a strong-willed character himself, capable of keeping all escapades at bay.

Atlético already have a centre-forward

While Ronaldo’s aforementioned tactical integration could work at Atletico Madrid, there is a problem: the club already have a similar player in Alvaro Morata.

The 29-year-old Spain international returned from his two-year loan spell at Juventus this summer and looked back on a positive pre-season as he scored a hat-trick against his old Italian club in last summer’s line-up.

The two players have a similar style and it would be difficult to fit both in the starting line-up at the same time as one of them would likely have to fill a back-up role.

What did Diego Simeone say about Cristiano Ronaldo?

The Atletico Madrid boss would not dwell on the resurfaced Ronaldo rumors ahead of his club’s season opener in Getafe. However, the Argentine also did little to quash the rumors and decided to deflect questions rather than denying the rumors outright.

“You [media] have to work. As for me, I think about Getafe, I think about the players who are in here and the only thing that matters to me and I worry about is that,” said Simeone.

As he was pressed further on the subject, he continued to deflect. “[Monday] we’re playing against Getafe, an important game for the team. And from there we’re going to start in a league that’s going to be very tough, with teams that have been strengthened very well, teams that continue to grow.

“The truth is that it will be a season that will bring us into new situations. The only thing that worries me is that.”

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