Cristiano Ronaldo to join Serie A champions Juventus after nine trophy-laden years at Real Madrid

Real Madrid confirmed on Tuesday that star forward Cristiano Ronaldo will move to Serie A champions Juventus from the upcoming campaign, putting an end to his nine-year stay with the Spanish club.

FP Sports July 10, 2018 21:55:18 IST
Cristiano Ronaldo to join Serie A champions Juventus after nine trophy-laden years at Real Madrid

Real Madrid confirmed on Tuesday that star forward Cristiano Ronaldo will move to Serie A champions Juventus from the upcoming campaign, putting an end to his nine-year stay with the Spanish club.

A statement on the official website of the Champions League winners read: "Real Madrid CF communicates that, in response to the will and request expressed by the player Cristiano Ronaldo, he has agreed to transfer to Juventus FC. Today, 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."

Cristiano Ronaldo to join Serie A champions Juventus after nine trophyladen years at Real Madrid

File image of Cristiano Ronaldo. AFP

The statement did not give any details as to the amount of the transfer but Spanish media reports have said it could reach 105 million euros ($120 million), with the 33-year-old signing a four-year contract worth 30 million euros per season.

In a letter posted on Real Madrid's website, the multiple Ballon d'Or winner said his time in Madrid had been one of the happiest in his life.

"I only have feelings of huge thanks for this club, for the fans and for this city," he said.

"But I think the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that's why I asked the club to accept to transfer me.

"I ask everyone, and especially our supporters, to please understand me."

Ronaldo, whose Portugal were knocked out of the World Cup last 16 by Uruguay, hinted after May's Champions League victory against Liverpool that he was considering leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

"It was very nice to be in Madrid," he said at the time, using the past-tense. He later played down the statement, but doubts over his future at Madrid lingered.

Ronaldo's stint in Madrid was a largely successful one as he won 16 titles that included four Champions League crowns, two La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey winners' medals .  In process, he also became Real Madrid's all-time leading goalscorers netting 451 goals in 438 games.

"For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of its great symbols and a unique reference for the next generations. Real Madrid will always be your home." the statement concluded paying tribute to one of the greatest players to have donned the Real Madrid jersey.

Destined for greatness

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was special from an early age.

In the year of his 16th birthday, he played for Sporting Lisbon's under-16, under-17, under-18, reserve and first teams, and two years later he so impressed Alex Ferguson in a 2003 pre-season friendly that the then-Manchester United boss snapped him up.

Six years, three Premier League titles and a Champions League later and he was on his way to Real Madrid, having joined George Best and Eric Cantona among the greatest players to wear United's prized number 7 shirt.

Bought for a then-world record 94 million euros, Ronaldo more than paid back his fee, and while Barcelona continued to mostly dominate La Liga, he has become the king of European competition.

He was the first player to score 100 Champions League goals, and topped the competition's scoring charts six times. The 17 goals he scored as Real beat local rivals Atletico to the 2014 title remains a single-season record.

He finally got the international monkey off his back with the 2016 Euros win after a lifetime of near misses and flattering to deceive on the world stage.

In beating the heavily-favoured hosts France in the final, he broke yet another record — his three goals made him the first player to ever score in four European Championships.

Last World Cup?

Ronaldo also became only the fourth player to score in four World Cups when he started this year's campaign with a hat-trick against Spain that culminated in a stunning free kick.

But he only bagged one more goal before Portugal fell to Uruguay, and will be 37 by the time the next global showpiece rolls around -- meaning it is unlikely he will improve on a run to the semi-finals in 2006.

On the same day Messi, with whom Ronald has long competed for the title of the world's best, was sent home empty-handed by a French side inspired by a breathtaking performance from 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe.

The World Cup in Russia may serve as a changing of the guard at the highest echelons of the sport, with Real Madrid forced this week to deny it made bids for both Mbappe and his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar.

But whoever replaces Ronaldo may find it tough going filling his shoes.

And Ronaldo will be looming at Juventus in European competitions as he continues to rack up records and build his case for being considered the greatest of all time.

With inputs from AFP

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