The Portugal superstar, who has been signed by the Serie A champions for a €105 million fee will go down as a Los Blancos legend nevertheless.
Here’s a look at the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s career trajectory in Spain.
It was certainly a glorious ride …
We’ve seen not one, but two potential GOATs (greatest of all-time) in their respective sports switch teams this summer.
Both megastars being on the move in the same month is the sports equivalent of catching a solar eclipse. It’s possible we may never see a basketball or football player reach the heights LeBron and Ronaldo have ever again, let alone witness them choosing new homes at the same time.
As if it wasn’t serendipitous enough, LeBron and Ronaldo are also the same age (33) and at similar points in their careers.
Their very best days may be behind them, but they remain institutions unto themselves, still more than capable of being the tides that lift all boats, on and off the playing field.
In Ronaldo’s case, Juventus appear to be taking more of a risk, mostly due to the Serie A record transfer fee of €100 million they’ve splashed to acquire the reigning Ballon d’Or winner.
Happiest 33 year olds in the world? 💰— Sporting News (@sportingnews) July 10, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly signed a four-year deal with Juventus worth $282M. Here's a look at his contract compared to LeBron James' four-year deal with the Lakers. pic.twitter.com/Pd2Ys19p6W
It’s a massive sum, but one that could be repaid through endorsements and sponsorship money garnered by Ronaldo’s presence.
Simply put, The Old Lady are buying prestige.
That’s not something the Lakers are lacking, but it had been lying dormant before LeBron’s arrival following five straight losing seasons.
One player on a basketball court can also have more of an impact than one player on a football pitch, and with LeBron coming off arguably his greatest statistical season yet, the Lakers are guaranteed a massive improvement in a way Juventus aren’t.
Ultimately, both will benefit their new teams in a way that’s expected and unquantifiable.
What’s more interesting is why they’ve chosen to go down their respective paths.
Both are leaving situations tailor-made for them – Ronaldo departing arguably the biggest club in the world and one that has won the past three Champions League crowns; LeBron waving goodbye to his hometown team (for the second time) where he fulfilled his destiny by bringing a much-coveted title, thus making him a God-like figure.
Neither have much, if anything, left to prove. But there is a sense of underlying pride for both men.
Ronaldo reportedly felt undervalued by Madrid president Florentino Perez, who apparently didn’t do enough to keep the face of the club happy.
Feeling loved and, maybe more importantly, respected, is something legends of Ronaldo and LeBron’s ilk crave.
LeBron has had his own falling out with a powerful figure at his team, with Dan Gilbert drawing his ire after the Cavaliers owner made disparaging remarks following James’ first exit back in 2010.
It’s unlikely the relationship with Gilbert was the main reason why LeBron left this time around, but his pride is certainly on the line after losing to the Golden State Warriors three of the past four years with no end in sight while reaming in Cleveland.
Perhaps more than anything, both Ronaldo and LeBron are embracing a new challenge that has the potential to expand their legacy. These aren’t first steps to retirement, they’re moves to flex their undeniable power and solidify their stature.
What else would you expect from two athletes nearly as big as their sports?
The Portugal superstar announced his decision on Wednesday, after a €105 million deal was struck between Los Blancos and the Serie A giants.
And while some fans found it hard to believe that the move has indeed taken place, some felt it was the right time.
Find out how they reacted to CR7’s switch from Spain to Italy.