He should be forever revered with universal and unanimous affection by Los Blancos fans, who by all rights should remember the departing star as one of their greatest idols alongside the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano and Raul.
But that might not actually be the case, because Ronaldo always strangely struggled to command the kind of affection his ridiculous levels of goalscoring warranted.
Even when he was banging home 50 or 60 goals per season, it wasn’t at all unusual for Ronaldo to be barracked by an outbreak of whistles from home fans inside the Bernabeu if he went through a brief barren patch.
Furthermore, despite being one of the best-paid and greatest admired athletes on the planet, it was unusual to see Cristiano actually looking happy during his time with Los Blancos. He rarely looked like he actually enjoyed playing for Real Madrid, only breaking into a smile when he scored a goal – but that quickly turned back into a frown as he returned to relentlessly search for his next goal.
And perhaps there lies the reasoning behind the apparent lack of a deep bond between Madrid fans and their star player: his endless thirst for self-improvement, which prevented him from ever relaxing sufficiently to enjoy the moment and show his human side to his supporters. Since arriving in Spain, he was never really human at all – he was also a superhuman force of nature, hell bent on breaking every goalscoring record out there…and then breaking them again.
Of course, it didn’t help Ronaldo’s cause with many Madrid fans that he was foreign, or that he was already a fully-fledged superstar when he arrived at the club (unlike Manchester United, where he emerged from nowhere and could thus be regarded by fans as ‘one of our own’).
But more than those factors, it was Ronaldo’s steely mask of ultra-professionalism and unswerving focus which made it more difficult for Madrid fans to fully warm to him, even when he was scoring goals and the team was winning trophies.
Maybe he will find more affection in Italy, where Juventus supporters can allow themselves to feel a certain amount of pride that he has chosen their club. This is Cristiano Ronaldo, a global icon, who has selected Juve above all the other options he must have been given. That boost in self-esteem for fans could well be reciprocated by a surge of emotion towards the new recruit, who could well find himself in the strange position of being more loved by fans of his new team, where he has scored no goals, than he was by fans of his old team, where he scored hundreds.
In any case, those Madrid supporters who never truly warmed to Ronaldo – which wasn’t all of them, let’s be clear – may soon realise just how good the Portuguese star was for their club, because his departure leaves a massive hole which may not be filled immediately if ever.
It will be fascinating to see how Los Blancos intend to spend the money they have earned from Ronaldo’s sale to replace him, but club president Florentino Perez surely already knows.
Paris Saint-Germain pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe must be the front-runners, perhaps joined by Eden Hazard from Chelsea if Gareth Bale also departs. There could also be a more prominent role for popular Spanish pair Isco and Marco Asensio, but none of them can seriously be expected to compensate for the goals which have been taken out of the team by the loss of Ronaldo.
During his nine seasons in Spain, Ronaldo never scored less than 25 league goals a season. He totalled more than 40 in all competitions for the last eight years in a row, including 60 in the four Champions League campaigns they have won since 2014.
Where are those goals coming from now? Mbappe, Neymar, Hazard, Asensio, Isco, Bale and Karim Benzema between them would struggle to match those incredible numbers, and the desperate upcoming attempt to replace Cristiano Ronaldo could well make him more appreciated by Madrid fans after he’s gone than he was while he was there.
Juventus fans are buzzing after a signing that would have looked unthinkable just days ago seems a near certainty to happen now.
Cristiano Ronaldo‘s shock arrival from Real Madrid, if the move is completed, is set to make the reigning Serie A champions an even more fearsome side. But it could also lead to some much-loved players departing the club, given Juve’s abundance of star attackers, not to mention a wage bill that is set to rise with Ronaldo in the squad.
Here’s a look at the five players most likely to leave as a direct result of Ronaldo being signed.
As mouthwatering a prospect as Dybala teaming up with Ronaldo would be, the Argentine is among the chief candidates to be sold if the Portugal star arrives.
The salary Ronaldo will command will leave little room for Juventus to pay hefty wages to too many other players, and as a rising star Dybala’s own wage demands are only set to rise. There will be plenty of clubs who will be able to meet those demands, but Juventus may not be one of them if Ronaldo’s on the books.
Higuain and Ronaldo were great teammates at Madrid and the Argentine would no doubt love to renew the partnership. But although they play nominally different positions, the two players have the same role – being their team’s chief goalscorers.
Of course, a team can never have too many scorers. But like with Dybala, there’s the wage factor to consider. Higuain is the club’s highest earner, which makes him a prime candidate to be sold. And at 30, he may be looking for one final payday – one Juventus might not be able to give him.
Giving up his shirt number may not be too big a problem for Cuadrado – although players can be possessive about these things – but Ronaldo’s arrival could push the Colombian further down the pecking order. Even though the two players play on opposite flanks, Cuadrado would be relegated to being a fifth option for Juventus in attack if the other stars stay.
Douglas Costa has usurped him for the starting right wing spot, and Juve have just paid €46million to make Costa’s transfer permanent after an impressive season on loan from Bayern Munich. Juventus rarely play with wingbacks now, reducing Cuadrado’s starting opportunities and thus making it even more likely he leaves.
Although he’s something of a cult hero for Juventus, Mandzukic is already a utility player for the club. And the utility he has is as a tall, physically imposing player who can play either through the middle or on the wings.
Sound familiar? Those qualities will be made redundant by Ronaldo, who can do the same things, but better, along with bringing much more to the table. Coupled with the fact that they’re both roughly the same age but one is a clearly better player, Mandzukic’s days look numbered.
As mentioned earlier, Costa is, for the moment, this summer’s big-money signing for Juventus, and it’s unlikely they’d sell a player having just forked out €46million to make him a permanent transfer, especially after the way he thrived at the club last season.
But stranger things have happened. Ronaldo’s arrival may push Costa out of a regular starting spot – it certainly will if Higuain and Dybala both remain at the club – and if that happens, suddenly the Brazilian is an expensive substitute rather than a value-for-money starter. Plus, Juventus have a highly-rated youngster waiting in the wings for Costa’s position in Federico Bernardeschi.
Juventus defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli have both agreed contract extensions with the Serie A champions.
Chiellini, 33, has signed a deal until 2020 while Barzagli, 37, will remain at Allianz Stadium until next summer at least.
A statement on the club’s website read: “Juventus could not be happier to maintain the services of the two men.”
Chiellini joined the club in 2005 and has recently been made Juve captain, taking over from Gianluigi Buffon who left this summer.
The Italy centre-back has racked up 472 appearances and, alongside Barzagli, has won the last seven Serie A titles.
Barzagli, a fellow central defender, was a 2011 arrival from Wolfsburg and has played 271 matches for the Bianconeri.