Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Juventus, becoming one of the four most expensive players of all time. A deal worth 112m euros (£99.2m) has been reached between the two clubs that has seen the Portuguese sign a four-year deal with the Italian champions.
Ronaldo, 33, won four Champions League titles in his nine years at Real.
“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.
The top two world record transfer fees have been paid out by Paris St-Germain – the £200m they paid Barcelona for Brazil forward Neymar last August, and the fee of around £166m for France forward Kylian Mbappe in July after a successful season on loan with PSG.
Barcelona also paid Liverpool £142m for Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho in January. For Juventus, the fee they will pay for Ronaldo is set to eclipse the £75.3m they paid for forward Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli in July 2016.
Juventus are set to play Real Madrid in a pre-season International Champions Cup tournament in the United States, with the match taking place at FedEx Field in Washington on Saturday, 4 August.
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.
However, I believe that the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept transferring me. I feel that way and I ask everyone, and especially our fans, to please understand me.
They have been absolutely wonderful for nine years. They have been nine unique years. It has been an emotional time for me, full of consideration but also hard because Real Madrid is of the highest demands, but I know very well that I will never forget that I have enjoyed football here in a unique way.
I have had fabulous team-mates on the field and in the dressing room, I have felt the warmth of an incredible crowd and together we have won three Championships in a row and four Championships in five years. And with them also, on an individual level, I have the satisfaction of having won four Gold Balls and three Gold Boots. All during my time in this immense and extraordinary club.
Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you: thanks to the club, the President, the directors, my colleagues, all the technical staff, doctors, physios and incredible workers that make everything work, that tirelessly pursue every minute detail.
Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish Football. During these nine exciting years I have played against great players. My respect and my recognition for all of them.
I have reflected a lot and I know that the time has come for a new cycle. I’m leaving but this shirt, this badge and the Santiago Bernabeu will continue to always feel part of me wherever I am.
Thanks to all and, of course, as I said that first time in our stadium nine years ago: Go Madrid!
Ronaldo joined Real from Manchester United for £80m in July 2009 and scored a club-record 450 goals and won the Ballon D’Or – awarded to the world’s best footballer – in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
He has helped them win the Champions League in four of the past five seasons, scoring in the 2014 and 2017 finals.
Despite their dominance in Europe’s premier club competition, Real struggled domestically, finishing 17 points behind champions Barcelona last season.
Real are keen on reshaping their team under new manager Julen Lopetegui and the 33-time La Liga winners have also been linked with a move for Paris St-Germain’s 26-year-old Brazil forward Neymar.
However, it would be a controversial move as Neymar spent four years at Real’s fierce rivals Barcelona before joining PSG in his world record transfer of £200m last summer.
Real have also been linked with a move for another PSG forward, Mbappe, the 19-year-old who has helped France reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Italian football expert James Horncastle told BBC Radio 5 live: “Real would be reluctant to lose Ronaldo without a replacement in hand. They have been linked with Neymar, who joined PSG for a world record fee last season, and their flirting with the Brazilian appears to have put Ronaldo’s nose out of joint at Madrid.
Juventus were made aware a few weeks ago that Ronaldo might be available on favourable terms. Ronaldo had a buyout clause worth $1bn (£886m) and Juventus were told Real Madrid were willing to accept £100m and Juventus were willing to pursue that even though it would mean restructuring their wage system.
We heard Juventus president, Andrea Agnelli, boarded a plane and then got a helicopter to see Ronaldo on holiday in Greece. They are calling it the deal of the century in Italy.
Juventus have reached the Champions League final twice in the last four years and lost both. One of those defeats was to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid. He scored in the final in Cardiff and he knocked them out in the quarters this year. They believe he is the difference and the player who could achieve the Champions League with Juventus for the first time in 23 years.
Winning the trophy has been an obsession for them. This is much more than about football it’s about them going to the next level as a business. When Deloitte ranked the 10 richest clubs in the world earlier this year, Juventus were only 10th. They believe by being able to leverage and monetising some of his followers on social media and his commercial deals, will help them close the gap financially on Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United.
The Italians are confident there could be an announcement this evening, although the finer details of the deal would take a few more days. Juventus’ share prices on the stock exchange sky-rocketed by 33%.
Ronaldo’s career in stats
- 450 – Ronaldo’s Real Madrid-record goal tally, in 438 games.
- 17 – his record goal tally for a Champions League season, in 2013-14.
- 105 – total Champions League goals for the club, which also included 16 in 2015-16 and 15 in the most recent campaign.
- 311 – goals in La Liga.
- 16 – major trophies with the club, including two La Ligas and four Champions Leagues, three Club World Cups and three European Super Cups.
- 44 – hat-tricks for Madrid including a club-record 34 in La Liga.
- 8 – the number of times he scored four or more goals in a Real match. That included five-goal league hauls against Granada in 2014-15 and Espanyol the following season.
- 61 – his most prolific season for Real came in 2014-15 with 61 goals in all competitions, including 48 in the league.
- 659 – career goals, including five for Sporting Lisbon, 118 for Manchester United, 451 for Real Madrid and 85 for Portugal.