Manchester United were drawn against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16, at the second attempt after a bungle from UEFA.
Striker Edinson Cavani had said in advance of the draw he would not watch, and he probably had the right approach. Cavani told the club’s official website that United had to beat the best teams regardless to win the trophy, and the opponent did not matter to him.
Upon learning United will face Atletico Madrid, Cavani’s interest is likely to have shot up.
Cavani nearly signed for Atletico
Edinson Cavani came close to signing with Atletico Madrid when it appeared close his PSG career was winding down.
Gianluca Di Marzio reported in December 2019 that a deal in principle was agreed with Cavani and the Spanish club for a three year deal. But it spectacularly fell apart.
Cavani and Atletico could not agree terms, and the Spanish club publicly hit out at the player and his representatives.
Atletico president Enrico Cezero was quoted by Goal: “Someday I will tell why Cavani did not come and they will prove me right. I don’t want to point anyone out, but I think it’s a shame about the situation of some players with their relatives and their representatives. It’s outrageous. We’re not here to be robbed or do anything strange.”
Cavani ended up leaving PSG as a free agent, and after a proposed move to Benfica also fell through, he signed with Manchester United.
Now he has a point to prove to Atletico, that he would have been worth the money he was seeking.
Kieran Trippier has his own point to prove
On the opposing team, Atletico Madrid full-back Kieran Trippier will get his chance to play at Old Trafford after all.
Trippier was repeatedly linked to United in the summer, with The Telegraph reporting he was hoping for a move to Manchester.
United decided transfer priorities lay elsewhere, and Trippier was left at Real Madrid, with the Spanish club seeking a high fee.
It’s unclear whether United’s interest remains, as interim boss Ralf Rangnick is more likely to concentrate on signing younger players, with Trippier 31. Either way, the ties are a good chance for Trippier to get back on the radar of other Premier League clubs as well as United, and he will be keen to show what he is capable of.
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