Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has ruled out the possibility of signing Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old was strongly linked with a move away from Old Trafford throughout the summer transfer window, but a host of top European clubs allegedly turned down the chance to sign him.
Ronaldo has since endured a difficult start to the 2022-23 campaign, starting six of his 12 appearances across all competitions and scoring only twice.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future at Old Trafford remains uncertain, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.
Atletico were one of a number of clubs linked with a potential swoop for the former Real Madrid man, but Simeone has dismissed the prospect of luring the Portuguese legend back to the Spanish capital.
Speaking to Diario AS, via Sport Witness, Simeone said: “[Ronaldo] is an absolute benchmark for Real Madrid, you would not see it.
“You would not see Palermo playing at River; you would not see [Juan Roman] Riquelme at River, you would not see [Ariel] Ortega at [Boca Juniors]. There are situations that are very clear.”
The Argentine head coach added: “I remember that in pre-season a fan yelled a great phrase at me: ‘Cholo, be careful, the Champions League is not at all costs’. And I liked it, it’s a very healthy reflection, from the neighbourhood, from the team, from the fan, from the heart.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has also played down speculation regarding a possible move for Ronaldo to St James’ Park.
“We’re trying to provide long-term growth, we’ve got a longer-term vision,” the Englishman told reporters via 90min.
“At the moment, we have quite an ageing squad, so we need to invest more in young players. That’s probably a big part of our progression, we need to get the average age down.
“So, it might not be a signing that we would necessarily look to make, but that’s not under-estimating the quality of the player.”
With Man United believed to be on the lookout for potential replacements for Ronaldo, the Red Devils have been credited with an interest in Atletico’s Joao Felix.
The 22-year-old, who is a teammate at international level with Ronaldo, is reportedly pushing to leave the Wanda Metropolitano in January, with Man United and Real Madrid monitoring his situation.
Atletico allegedly rejected a €130m (£110m) bid from Man United for Felix late in the summer window, and the La Liga outfit are under no pressure to sell the forward who still has just under four years remaining on his contract.