Cristiano Ronaldo Leaves Real Madrid for Juventus
Both Juventus and Real Madrid announced Tuesday that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is officially leaving Spain for Italy.
The 2017 Ballon d’Or winner is leaving Spain after 9 incredibly successful seasons with Real Madrid. Ronaldo reportedly clashed with Madrid president Florentino Perez over contract demands, so he ultimately decided to leave for greener pastures.
Real Madrid issued a statement that said, “Real Madrid would like to communicate that we have listened to the wish and request expressed by player Cristiano Ronaldo and have agreed to his transfer to Juventus FC.”
Juventus confirmed that it agreed with Real Madrid on a transfer fee of €100 million (about $117 million) plus another €12 million in fees for the 33-year-old attacker. The player also agreed to a 4-year contract with the Italian giants. Ronaldo is expected to earn an annual wage of €30 million ($35 million).
Ronaldo’s original deal with Real Madrid still had 3 years left, but he was earning quite a bit less than other world superstars like Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Neymar Jr. of Paris St. Germain. He still made a crazy about of money, but it’s possible he was underpaid by the club that he led to glory.
Ronaldo came with a release clause of €1 billion on his original deal, but Real were willing to take just 10 percent of that in order to free up more money. The club will use the funds from the sale of Ronaldo in order to replenish a squad that is getting up there in age.
Ronaldo leaves the club as Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer, which is no small feat given the team’s decorated history. Madrid won the UEFA Champions League 4 times during Ronaldo’s tenure, including 3 in the last 3 years. The Portuguese international also won 4 of his 5 Ballon d’Or trophies during his time in the Spanish capital.
The player issued a statement of his own that said, “These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Madrid have quite possibly been the happiest years of my life. I only have feelings of great gratitude to this club, to the fans and to the city. I can only give thanks to all of them for the love and affection that I have received.”
He added, “However, I feel that the time has come to begin a new stage of my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept my transfer. I feel it this way and I am asking everyone, and especially my fans, to please understand me.”
Ronaldo last signed a deal with Real in November of 2016, but Perez promised him a new contract after the club won Champions League the next year. Ronaldo said last December that he felt he was in line for a raise and that he reportedly felt betrayed by the club when a new deal was never offered.
Moments after beating Liverpool in the Champions League Final this past May, Ronaldo fueled speculation of his potential departure by saying, “It has been very nice being at Real Madrid.”
He now faces a new challenge in Italy with Juventus. The club is currently riding a streak of 7 consecutive Serie A titles, and the addition of Ronaldo seems likely to push that number to 8 next season. While the club’s domestic success speaks for itself, Juventus have been unable to break through in European competition.
Juve have been finalists in Champions League in 2 of the last 4 years, but they failed to seal the deal in both instances. Juventus were beaten by Barcelona 4 years ago before falling at the hands of Ronaldo and Real Madrid last year. Juventus have been crowned European champions twice, in 1985 and 1996.
ESPN FC reported early on Tuesday that Juventus president Andrea Agnelli had flown to Greece in order to meet with Ronaldo and finalize the deal. The player was vacationing in Greece after Portugal were eliminated in the round of 16 of the World Cup by Uruguay.
Juventus are slated to play 4 preseason games in the United States this summer, though there’s no telling if Ronaldo will participate. Juventus will play against the Major League Soccer All-Stars in Atlanta on August 4 before facing Real Madrid in Washington D.C. 3 days later.
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