Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Juventus for a reported $140m. The Portuguese star, who had threatened to leave Madrid for the past few seasons, has finally moved on. Ronaldo was Madrid’s number one star player and certainly their best since Zinedine Zidane. His departure comes across as a surprise but, make no mistake, this is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Eyebrows have been raised at the fee involved for a player who is 33 years old. Ronaldo isn’t just any 33-year-old soccer player. He’s a dedicated professional and one of the fittest players in the world. He still plays like he’s 29, and his four year contract he has signed with the Italian champions is proof of that.
$140m for a player who is 33?
Juventus will get at least four years from him, and it is evident that Ronaldo will play into his very late 30’s. He stated a few years ago that he would play until he is 41 suggesting that he would retire from football after the 2026 World Cup.
As for paying the fee, the Old Lady will make some of that revenue up in the marketing of the player just as Madrid themselves have done most infamously with the arrival of David Beckham in 2003.
For Serie A, Ronaldo is quite a capture. Here is a league that was clearly the most competitive and best from the late 1980’s and remained that way for a decade before world stars started to head to Spain and England. Throughout the years and despite both Milan and Inter winning the Champions League, Serie A has taken its knocks. It’s been called a has-been league, one that suffers still from hooliganism, bad marketing and that has simply fallen behind the times. Now that Serie A has one of the greatest players to have ever played the game, opinions may start to change.
Ronaldo himself should be applauded for leaving. He hasn’t chosen the easy way out. With all due respect, he could have gone to a lower standard of football and played out his years in China. Instead, he has chosen Italy and Juventus. The league is famous for priding itself on defense and so Ronaldo has in that way given himself the ultimate test.
Ronaldo the G.O.A.T.?
At Madrid, he scored 451 goals in just 438 games, breaking every record along the way. Will he still be able to score 30 plus goals a season?
If he does and if the titles continue, comparisons to Lionel Messi may grow wider. While Messi has done a terrific job, he’s only done that in Spain with Barcelona.
Ronaldo will be trying something new in his fourth league following stints in his native Portugal with Sporting CP, then famously with Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and then with Madrid. Everywhere he’s gone, the goals and titles have followed and everyone will be expecting that run to continue with Juventus.
It’s true that Ronaldo’s annual salary could be in the region of $35 million after tax. That’s even more than what Andres Iniesta will pick up for playing in China.
For Ronaldo, the importance of playing at Juventus is the fact that he will be involved in Champions League football again. For fans of the beautiful game, this is a win-win situation.