July 11 – A massive self-indulgent risk for a 33-year-old or a masterstroke? The latest phase in the remarkable career of Cristiano Ronaldo has seen him join Juventus from Real Madrid for about €112 million, making him one the four most expensive players of all time.
Italian media have hailed the acquisition of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner as the deal of the century after the Portuguese superstar signed a four-year contract .
The reported €30 million annual salary would be more than double what Juventus have been paying their previous highest earner, Gonzalo Higuaín, and despite reaching the Champions League final in 2017, Juve are still ranked only 10th in Deloitte’s Money League with revenues less than two-thirds the size of Manchester United, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Juve will be hoping that Ronaldo’s skyhigh valuation will similarly push their own financial fortunes upwards. Although he might be slowing down Ronaldo still scored 44 goals for Real last season and helped them win the Champions League in four of the past five seasons.
“The time has come to open a new stage in my life, that’s why I asked the club to accept transferring me,” he said in a statement. “These years in Real Madrid, and in this city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life. I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for its fans and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received. They have been absolutely wonderful for nine years.”
In their own statement, Real said: “For Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of the great symbols. Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football.
Despite their dominance in the Champions League, Real struggled domestically last season, finishing 17 points behind champions Barcelona and are reportedly planning a mini-overhaul under new manager Julen Lopetegui .
They are likely to have lined up a replacement for Ronaldo and have already been linked with a move for Neymar who joined Paris St Germain for a world record fee last season. The rumour mill seems certain to escalate especially as there are few players who could fill Ronaldo’s shoes. Harry Kane might be one of them but Tottenham Hotspur’s England striker recently signed a new contract with the London club.
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