Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Juventus after the Italian champions agreed a fee of around £99m with Real Madrid to bring an end to a hugely successful nine-year stay at the Bernabeu.
The 33-year-old had hinted after Real’s third successive Champions League final triumph in May that he was keen to leave and, with Manchester United reluctant to enter the bidding, he has decided to move to Serie A.
Juventus have agreed terms on a four-year contract, which will see Ronaldo earn around £500,000-a-week.
Ronaldo, who was once again Portugal’s star player as they exited the World Cup in the round of 16, had always suggested that he wanted to re-join United when he left Madrid, but that opportunity failed to materialise and it is not thought manager Jose Mourinho was keen on his return.
“I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club and for this city,” Ronaldo wrote in an open letter to Real Madrid fans. “I have had nine absolutely wonderful years at the 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: thank you to the club, the president, the directors, my colleagues, all the staff, doctors, physios and incredible people that make everything work.
Ronaldo leaves Madrid a legend, the club’s record goalscorer and one of their greatest players, as well as one of the most decorated. The timing, though, does make sense, with some supporters tired of his perceived selfishness and constant desire to be the centre of attention. The team is also in need of a rebuild.
“For Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of the great symbols,” the club said in a statement.
“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. Real Madrid will always be your home.”