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Ronald Hernandez not coming back to Aberdeen despite Atlanta United’s season ending, confirms boss Stephen Glass

Full-back Ronald Hernandez has completed a permanent transfer from Aberdeen to Atlanta United.
Full-back Ronald Hernandez has completed a permanent transfer from Aberdeen to Atlanta United.

Boss Stephen Glass has confirmed big money signing Ronald Hernandez is unlikely to return to Aberdeen from Atlanta United.

Glass confirmed Hernandez will not return to Pittodrie this year and could make a long-term switch to Atlanta United.

One of the most expensive signings in the Dons’ 118-year history, the Venezuelan international has been on loan in the United States with Atlanta since February.

Atlanta’s season ended on Sunday when crashing out at the first round of the MLS play-offs with a 2-0 loss to New York City.

Atlanta United’s Ronald Hernandez, right, tries to dribble past Columbus Crew’s Waylon Francis.

Glass confirmed Hernandez, an £800,000 signing from Norwegian side Stabaek in January 2020, won’t return to Pittodrie now that Atlanta’s season is over.

Glass said there has been interest in Hernandez, 24,  who is contracted to Aberdeen until summer 2024 and started World Cup qualifiers for Venezuela last month against Brazil, Ecuador and Chile.

The Dons boss also revealed Atlanta, Aberdeen’s strategic partners, rate the right-back highly and there is a chance he will remain with the Five Stripes.

Hernandez started eight times for Atlanta this season, with a further five appearances off the bench, scoring once.

CF Montreal’s Kamal Miller (3) plays a pass as Atlanta United’s Ronald Hernandez (2) moves in.

Glass said: “At the moment, no, he won’t be coming back.

“He couldn’t take part until January anyway and then within January there’s only one game at the start that he’d be available for.

“The plan is to re-visit it in January.

“I know people are in contact all the time about Ronnie.”

Aberdeen’s Ronald Hernandez is challenged by St Johnstone’s David Wotherspoon

£800,000 signing with three starts

The most expensive Aberdeen signing in more than two decades, right-back Hernandez was signed on transfer deadline day in January 2020 to much fanfare.

However, he has made just three starts, with a further three appearances off the bench, for the Dons.

Hernandez’s loan deal with Atlanta United is until the start of January when the winter transfer window opens.

Aberdeen have just one game, against Ross County on January 3, before the Premiership goes into a three-week winter shutdown.

Hernandez is expected to be called into the Venezuela international squad in January for World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia home (January 26) and Uruguay away (January 31).

Aberdeen’s Ronald Hernandez faces Rangers at Ibrox.

Chance of staying at Atlanta United

Capped 25 times by his country, Hernandez has reclaimed his starting slot in the Venezuela national squad in recent months having received game time at Atlanta under new boss Gonzalo Pineda.

Former Mexican international Pineda replaced Gabriel Heinze, who was axed in July.

Atlanta United open the 2022 MLS regular season on February 27 next year with a home clash against Sporting Kansas City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Glass admits Hernandez could be at Atlanta for that MLS kick-off.

Glass, a former Atlanta United 2 manager, said: “At the moment he’s not part of our group, but I don’t know if that’ll be the case through January or not.

“As far as I’m aware, Atlanta like him. There’s a chance he stays there.”

Regular starts for Venezuela

Defender Hernandez arrived at Pittodrie with undoubted pedigree, having starred in Venezuela’s run to the Copa America quarter-finals the previous year.

Hernandez played the entire 90 minutes of a 0-0 draw in a group game with eventual winners Brazil in 2019, who started with stars like Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Dani Alves (Barelona), Thiago Silva (Chelsea)  and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

The Dons defender also played the entire 90 minutes in the 2-0 quarter-final loss to Argentina, where he came up against stars like six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi (Paris St Germain) and Sergio Aguero (Barcelona).

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, right, and Venezuela’s Ronald Hernandez vie for the ball during a Copa America quarter-final on 28 June 2019

However, Hernandez only made three starts for Aberdeen, although his Pittodrie career was impacted by the shutdown of Scottish football due to the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020, just two months after signing for the Dons.

Throughout his time at Aberdeen and Atlanta United, the right-back has continued to be selected for his country and played, and scored, in the Copa America this summer.

The defender came off the bench to head home for Venezuela deep into time added on to salvage a 2-2 draw against Ecuador in a Group B clash.

Right-back Calvin Ramsay still out

With Hernandez not set to return this year, if at all, Aberdeen are still without right-back Calvin Ramsay due to a thigh injury.

Glass confirmed the 18-year-old, one of the stand-out performers this season, is out of Sunday’s Premiership trip to Parkhead.

Scotland international centre-back Declan Gallagher is also sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Aberdeen’s Calvin Ramsay goes off injured during the 1-0 defeat of Hibs in October.

Left-back Jack MacKenzie is in contention to return from an ankle injury that saw him replaced at half-time in the 1-0 loss to Dundee United.

Scotland international David Bates is also set to return, having missed the New Firm derby loss due to illness.

Glass said: “Jack (MacKenzie) is going to be close, but I don’t know if he’ll make it or not.

“Batesy is probably back, all being well.

“Declan will probably be back sooner than Calvin.

“They are both out on the grass now, which is positive.

‘Declan is doing a little more than Calvin, so he’s probably a little bit closer, but certainly not this weekend.”