Fans protest against potential Ronaldo signing
The latest speculation on Cristiano Ronaldo's future has the Portuguese superstar linked to a sensational return to Spain in the colors of Atletico Madrid - but not if the club's legion of fans have anything to do with it.
Exactly where Ronaldo will be when the various European leagues kick off in the coming months remains one of football's most hotly-discussed topics after the 37-year-old marksman made clear his desire to leave Manchester United for a second time following the Red Devils' insipid Premier League campaign last season.
It is thought that Ronaldo is seeking a new club who can deliver him what would be a sixth Champions League crown but so far his representatives have been rebuffed by a host of Europe's elite clubs, with the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich declining the advances of Ronaldo's representatives.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid don't seem keen on a return while cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain have, so far at least, resisted the temptation to pair Ronaldo with Lionel Messi in what would be a box office partnership in the fulcrum of their attack.
So with the options narrowing, the latest potential destination being cited by the media is Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid - a move which would almost certainly enflame tensions with Ronaldo's former club on the opposite side of the Spanish capital.
But judging by the reactions of some of the Atletico faithful, they don't want the potential move to become a reality either.
#ContraCR7 si viene este a mi atleti doy de baja mis dos abonos.... No somos un asilo para recoger la escoria— Miguel Parraga (@diablo_685) July 23, 2022
#ContraCR7This is not just about Atletico fans, every club's fans should reject Runaldo!— 王守舂の十三香🏯勘定奉行在職中🏯 (@NMYJSL) July 24, 2022
#ContraCR7It's better to lose than win with this guy pic.twitter.com/7qhF03xr1c— lewan Ahmed (@a1a2show) July 25, 2022
“If this one comes to my Atleti, I will cancel my two subscriptions.... We are not an asylum to collect scum,” one supporter tweeted, as noted by the Mirror.
“This is not just about Atletico fans, every club's fans should reject Ronaldo,” added another, as the Twitter hashtag #ContraCR7 (against CR7) gained steam online.
“A clown who represents everything that is not Atleti. It would destroy the locker room, the fans and everything it touches. It is not even sustained sportingly, [he’s] in clear decline,” were the thoughts of another supporter.
“At the Club we would never put the results of the brand, image or economic dividends before the sports or social ones.”
Publicly, Manchester United's new boss Erik ten Hag has stated that Ronaldo is at the forefront of his plans for the forthcoming season but it is thought that the club will allow him to leave if an acceptable offer is received.
Atletico, though, would require Ronaldo to take a significant cut in his reported £500,000-per-week ($600,000) wages if the deal is to become a reality, though a loan deal with wages split between both teams could be a more attractive possibility.
Others have balked at the idea that Ronaldo would turn his back on Real Madrid - a club he spent the best part of a decade at - to represent their city rivals, though Ronaldo's very public discussions with Manchester City a year ago showed that loyalties often come second to finances and silverware in top-level football.
But wherever he ends up, it is clear that the world's most famous footballer certainly isn't seen as the commodity that he once was.