Cristiano Ronaldo ‘was rejected by Atletico Madrid’ before sealing dramatic Man Utd return

Evra "moves his sheep" away from Ronaldo's house

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Atletico Madrid turned down the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Manchester United during the summer transfer window, according to reports. The mercurial 36-year-old has made a prolific start to his second Red Devils spell after returning to Old Trafford on a permanent basis last month.

Ronaldo, who signed a two-year deal with United on deadline day, has already scored four goals in just three matches for the club.

He kicked off with a brace against Newcastle United on his long-awaited second debut before finding the net against Young Boys and West Ham United in each of his next two outings.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City before rejoining United in a sensational late twist to the summer window.

The defending Premier League champions were reportedly keen on bringing Ronaldo to the Etihad Stadium but dropped their interest with just days left until the all-important deadline, allowing United to swoop.

However, things could have ended up very differently if Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, had been successful in his efforts to send the former Real Madrid man back to the Spanish capital.

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Atletico were contacted by Mendes over the possibility of taking Ronaldo away from Juventus, according to Carrusel Confidential.

The report claims the Spanish heavyweights rejected the opportunity to secure his services and no formal talks were held.

Such a move would have been extremely difficult to engineer, given Ronaldo’s monumental wage demands and his prominent association with Atletico’s closest rivals.

They promptly switched their focus to the last-gasp signing of Antoine Griezmann, who returned to the club on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona at the eleventh hour.

United will be thanking their lucky stars that Atletico decided to snub a move for Ronaldo, with the Red Devils legend now set to lead their Premier League title challenge over the coming weeks and months.

It remains to be seen whether he will be rested by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the visit of West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.

Ronaldo previously declared that he would be ready and willing to assume any role under the management of his former United team-mate, who signed a three-year contract extension with the club back in July.

“As you know, I played with him for two or three years at Manchester United,” Ronaldo told the club website shortly after his return was confirmed.

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“I have a good relationship with him but now with a different role, I’m a player and he’s a coach.

“But it doesn’t matter, my relationship with him is great and as I say before, I’m there in Manchester to help the team achieve his results.

“The coach can count on me for whatever he wants, so I’m available for everything.”

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