Not many people would have anticipated that Cristiano Ronaldo would leave Real Madrid a couple of months ago but now that a move to Juventus is complete, it makes sense for all parties involved, writes DEAN WORKMAN.
The rumours of Ronaldo’s potential departure began almost immediately after he fired Real to a third successive Champion League triumph with a 3-1 win over Liverpool at the beginning of June.
Straight after the game, the Portuguese international said, ‘It was beautiful to be at Real Madrid. The future of any Madrid player is not important; we have just made history.’
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇫🇷 (@realmadridfra) July 10, 2018
He later came out and apologised on the timing of his comments but offered no retraction.
His future was put on hold as he led Portugal at the World Cup in Russia, but since his side’s exit, the rumours of a move to Juventus intensified and were eventually confirmed by Real Madrid on Tuesday afternoon: he would move to the Italian champions in a deal worth €100-million.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner leaves the Santiago Bernabeu as their leading goal-scorer in history with 451 goals in 438 games. In total, he won 16 titles at the Spanish giants, including four European cups, one La Liga crown and two Copa del Rey titles.
On an individual basis, he won four Ballons d’Or, two Uefa Best Player awards, and three Gold Boots, among many other awards.
Ronaldo’s record at Real Madrid is a joke 😅
⚪ Games: 438
⚽ Goals: 450
🎯 Assists: 119
🏆 4x UCL
🏆 2x La Liga
🏆 2x Copa Del Rey
🏆 2x Spain Super Cup
🏆 4x Ballon d’Or
🏆 3x Golden Shoe
— The F2 (@TheF2) July 11, 2018
In his nine years in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo has set a remarkable standard as his battle with Lionel Messi dominated world football, so why would Los Blancos be open to losing the man who has been the driving force behind their success for the better part of a decade?
Well, when Zinedine Zidane left the club just weeks after their Champions League conquest in June, it was clear that the squad would need to undergo a transformation under new manager Julen Lopetegui if they were to continue their dominance of European football.
Although Ronaldo’s contribution to the side has never waned, building a new squad requires younger players and in today’s transfer market, the amount of money needed to rebuild a squad with players who fit the Real Madrid mould would certainly be a costly exercise.
Ronaldo’s departure has seen the Spanish giants significantly free up their wage bill while recouping a fee of €100-million. This will allow Madrid to reinvest in the squad with the likes of Neymar, Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe, who are said to be on their wish list.
The chance to fill the Ronaldo void may also just be enough temptation to lure any player to the Santiago Bernabeu, regardless of their current situation.
From Ronaldo’s perspective, over the past few seasons he has managed to transform himself from a flying wing to an out-and-out goal-scoring forward and despite being 33 years old, he has shown no signs of slowing down.
The former Manchester United man clearly has a few more years at the top and is evidently keen for one last challenge.
He dominated English football with United and then dominated Spanish and European football with Madrid. This move offers Ronaldo the chance to further edge himself into the list of football’s all-time greats by making his mark in Italy.