Atleti chief: Ronaldo move ‘practically impossible’

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has called a move for Cristiano Ronaldo “practically impossible” as the forward looks to force a move away from Manchester United.

Ronaldo, 37, held talks at United’s training ground on Tuesday — accompanied by agent Jorge Mendes — after missing the club’s preseason tour of Thailand and Australia, citing personal reasons.

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ESPN reported earlier this month that the Portugal international had handed in a transfer request due to his desire to play in the Champions League, with Atletico linked as a possible destination.

“I’ve said it many times. I don’t know who invented the story about Cristiano. But I’ll tell you, it’s practically impossible for him to come to Atletico Madrid,” Cerezo told reporters on Tuesday.

Last month Cerezo said Atletico would need to bring in €40 million from player departures to be able to register new signings under LaLiga’s squad spending limits.

The club’s finances have since been boosted by signing two significant new sponsorship agreements, including selling the naming rights to their Metropolitano stadium to the real estate firm Civitas.

Atletico have already brought in midfielder Axel Witsel on a free transfer this summer, while right-back Nahuel Molina flew into Madrid on Monday ahead of completing a move from Udinese.

The arrival of Ronaldo would be controversial among some fans, given his long-time association with fierce local rivals Real Madrid.

He is Real’s all-time record goal scorer, and won four Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles in a nine-year stint before leaving for Juventus in 2018.

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