Atletico Madrid fans are protesting against the possible signing of Cristiano Ronaldo

Atletico Madrid fans have started an online protest amidst rumours that their club is interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford for most of the summer. The Times reported in June that the Portuguese icon told United officials that it was time for him to leave the club for a second time.

His return to the club last year brought much fanfare. The 37-year-old had an initial spell in Manchester between 2003 and 2009. In that time, he became one of the greatest players the Premier League – and indeed, English top flight football – had ever seen. A player capable of magic consistently.

And United fans saw plenty of that magic last season. There were crucial goals scored by Ronaldo in the Champions League group stage. Without them, the Red Devils would have been knocked out.

YouTube video

He also netted 18 goals in 30 appearances in the Premier League – by far United’s highest individual tally of the season. There were hat tricks against Norwich and Tottenham.

But Ronaldo’s performances couldn’t inspire United to Champions League qualification. They could only manage sixth place, in what was a poor season for the Red Devils. It is that, coupled with a lack of ambition from the club, that has reportedly set Ronaldo’s transfer stance. Despite this, new boss Erik ten Hag has looked to cool rumours that the Portuguese star will be leaving.

YouTube video

However, he has been the subject of transfer rumours, most recently from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. But it is the manner of Ronaldo’s first departure from United that is causing issues amongst their fans.

Atletico Madrid interested in Ronaldo

According to reports in Spain, Atletico want to sign the 37-year-old this summer. Diego Simeone’s side finished third in La Liga last season. They will play Champions League football this term.

In addition, the club will also likely be embarking on a serious push for the La Liga title. Real Madrid are comfortable favourites, with Barcelona also strengthening this summer, but Atletico have been there or thereabouts for many years.

The Times claim, however, that signing Ronaldo is currently unlikely to be possible. Atleti would break La Liga’s financial rules with the deal. However, they can complete a deal if they reduce their wage bill. The same source reports that Simeone’s side are looking to move on Antoine Griezmann.

The Frenchman is currently on loan at the club. However, Atletico have a mandatory purchase clause in his two-year loan contract from Barcelona. It is reported that they plan to activate this, and then move the forward to another club.

Atletico fans protest against Ronaldo

Another major stumbling block exists in the Atletico Madrid pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo.

When he departed United in 2009, the forward left to join Real Madrid – Atletico’s city rivals. At Real, Ronaldo further established himself as one of the greatest players of all time.

He scored an incredible 450 goals in 438 appearances in all competitions and won 15 trophies, including four Champions League titles.

However, one of those Champions League titles pains Atletico fans the most. The two city rivals faced off in the 2014 final.

Atleti took a 36th-minute lead through Diego Godin. They held on to that lead until 93 minutes, when Sergio Ramos came up with a last-gasp equaliser for Real.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side assumed control in extra time. Goals from Gareth Bale and Marcelo took the game out of Atletico’s reach. Ronaldo then put the icing on the cake with a 120th-minute penalty.

Eight years on, Atletico fans still haven’t forgotten Ronaldo’s impact on his former club – and their dislike of the player. They have started a hashtag on Twitter, titled #ContraCR7 (#AgainstCR7).

It is fair to say that many of them are unhappy about the rumours, with one even saying that they would not watch an Atletico game this season if Ronaldo joined.

Another wrote: “We don’t love you, and we never will. I’d rather lose a thousand Champions [Leagues] than have you on my team, Cristiano.”

And another claimed: #ContraCR7 disrespects our club and never shows any respect. He does not belong amongst us.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty