Cristiano Ronaldo handed sudden exit route as Man Utd transfer swap deal emerges

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Manchester United have been linked with a move for wantaway Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix – amid the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo moving the opposite way.

Felix wants to leave the Spanish capital club at the earliest possible opportunity and ideally in the January transfer window, having fallen out of favour under boss Diego Simeone. He has completed 90 minutes just once this campaign – and is no longer viewed as a key player for Los Rojiblancos.

Ronaldo, 37, has been intent on departing United for the past four months after his high-profile return from Juventus last year did not go to plan. Despite netting 24 goals across all competitions last season, United’s collective form nosedived, and they finished a distant sixth in the Premier League.

Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel at Old Trafford after Manchester United’s dominant two-goal victory over Tottenham – with boss Erik ten Hag axing the star from the upcoming trip to Chelsea this weekend. It is now anticipated that he will leave Old Trafford next year, and potentially as early as the January transfer window.

Felix – the club’s record signing – is now closer to an Atleti exit than ever, with Diario AS claiming that United are one of three possible destinations for the 22-year-old, alongside Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

Atletico emerged as a surprise viable destination for the striker, despite their fans protesting this summer against the possible signing.

It was believed that Simeone would love for the club to land a player he has always greatly admired. It would share similarities with the club signing Luis Suarez – the Uruguayan joined from Barcelona in 2020 and subsequently fired Simeone’s side to the league title in his debut season.

Simeone recently rejected suggestions of signing Ronaldo but did so on the basis of his past with Real Madrid, which has not hindered the club from signing players formerly of their city rivals such as Marcos Llorente and Sergio Reguilon in recent times. It is understood that despite his public comments, Simeone would be willing to defy the club’s fans and land Ronaldo – should the possibility become available.

Forward Felix, who has been linked with a possible future switch to Old Trafford, joined Atleti in a £113million transfer from Benfica in 2019, has reportedly fallen out with Simeone and could be on the move at the earliest possible opportunity. Reports from Portugal say Felix has been “bullied” by Simeone and the situation came to a head when he was left on the bench in each of Atleti’s recent Champions League clashes against Club Brugge.

The complexity of moving either player on in the middle of the season is full of complications yet with both clubs open to a form of a swap deal and each player seeking pastures new, the possibility is becoming stronger.