Cristiano Ronaldo pays heartfelt tribute to Real Madrid after confirming Juventus move

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Los Blancos icon: Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo is determined to write another chapter in his illustrious career after joining Juventus in a €112million (£99.2million) from Real Madrid.

Portugal forward Ronaldo, 33, agreed a four-year contract with the Serie A champions in one of the most dramatic moves in European football, which was confirmed on Tuesday evening.

Ronaldo scored a record 451 goals over nine years at the Bernabeu, having signed from Manchester United and helping deliver four Champions League triumphs.

However, as the Spanish giants prepare for life under new head coach Julen Lopetegui, Ronaldo felt the time was right to move on.

In an open letter posted on Real Madrid’s website, Ronaldo pleaded with fans to understand his decision.

“These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Madrid have been possibly the happiest of my life,” he said.

“I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for these 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 followers, to please understand me.”

Juventus revealed in a club statement that they would pay €100million to Madrid over two financial years and “additional costs” of €12million.

Real expressed their gratitude to a player who helped the club to four Champions League successes, three FIFA Club World Cups, two LaLiga titles and two Copa del Rey crowns.

A club statement said: “Real Madrid CF communicates that, in response to the will and request expressed by the player

Cristiano Ronaldo, it has agreed to transfer him to Juventus FC.

“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.

“Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies achieved and the triumphs achieved on the playing fields during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement.

“For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of its great symbols and a unique reference for the next generations. Real Madrid will always be your home.”

Ronaldo, whose transfer from United in 2009 was for a then world-record fee of £80m, also paid tribute to Madrid.

“Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you,” the Portugal international said in his letter.

“Thanks to the club, the president, the directors, my colleagues, all the technicians, doctors, physios and incredible workers. They make everything work and they are tirelessly watching every detail.

“Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish football. 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 as my own wherever I am.”

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Neymar and Antoine Griezmann two possible replacements for Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid

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Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed a move to Italian giants Juventus from European champions Real Madrid.

The 33-year-old Portugal striker has played at the Bernabeu since 2009 when he moved from Manchester United for a then record-breaking £80million fee.

Ronaldo scored 44 goals in 44 games last season, also managing eight assists, and scored four goals for Portugal at the World Cup in Russia – including a hat-trick against Spain.

Here, we look at five possible replacements for Real following Ronaldo’s departure.

KYLIAN MBAPPE

1215 Kylian Mbappe

The French teenager is likely to be one of Madrid’s top targets. Mbappe joined Paris St Germain on loan from Monaco in August last year for £162million, which was paid when his move became permanent this summer.

The 19-year-old scored 33 goals in 48 games for the French champions last season and became the first teenager to score a brace in a World Cup game since Pele in 1958 when he netted twice in Les Bleus’ 4-3 win over Argentina in the last 16. His performances at the World Cup have drawn comparisons with Thierry Henry and Michael Owen.

EDEN HAZARD

Hazard of Chelsea celebrates

The Belgium and Chelsea forward has impressed immensely at the World Cup, scoring two goals and providing two assists so far.

The 27-year-old might not be a direct replacement for the prolific Ronaldo, having scored 17 goals for the Blues last season, but he provided more assists than the Portuguese, with 13.

He has also been given the Belgian captaincy in a show of confidence from coach Roberto Martinez. Hazard could find the lure of Champions League football too great, with Chelsea missing out after finishing fifth last season.

NEYMAR

0424 Neymar

The most expensive footballer in the world, who moved from Barcelona to PSG for a record £199.8million, could be a target for his ability on the pitch and his appeal off it.

Neymar, 26, scored 28 goals in 30 appearances in his first season in France and provided 16 assists. The Brazilian, who scored two goals for his country at this summer’s World Cup, was linked with Madrid in January but played down speculation, claiming he was happy at the French club.

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

Antoine-Griezmann-Atletico-Madrid

Despite announcing he would stay at Atletico Madrid on a television documentary called ‘La Decision’, the French striker could yet be targeted by Real Madrid.

Griezmann, who has previously been linked with a move to Barcelona, scored 29 goals in 49 appearances for Atletico last season and also provided 15 assists.

The 27-year-old forward had scored three goals for France at Russia 2018 prior to the semi-final but two of those were from the penalty spot in a quiet tournament by his standards.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

0319 Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski set a European record of 16 goals in a single World Cup qualifying campaign ahead of the tournament in Russia, and scored in nine out of Poland’s 10 games.

The 29-year-old is renowned for his goalscoring prowess and has won the Bundesliga golden boot three times since 2013. He has scored 30 goals in the league on two occasions since his arrival in Germany in 2010.

Lewandowski has played for Bayern Munich since 2014 after moving on a free transfer from rivals Borussia Dortmund and has scored 151 goals in 195 appearances over four seasons.

 

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Watch: If Cristiano Ronaldo makes a decision, he sticks to it, says Michel Salgado

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Cristiano Ronaldo could leave the Bernabeu this summer.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been heavily linked with a move to Serie A champions Juventus over the last few weeks.

And former Los Blancos star Michel Salgado has discussed the possibility of Real Madrid‘s main man heading towards the exit door.

Hear what he had to say as Ronaldo gets closer to a move to Italy.

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