Please understand me, Ronaldo tells fans after switch

Sports | 12 Jul 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid to join Juventus for 100 million euros (HK$919.5 million), with the Portuguese superstar saying the time had come "for a new stage" in his life.

Juventus confirmed that Ronaldo had signed a four-year contract and that the transfer fee, including 12 million euros in add-ons, would be paid over two years. Spanish media reported the 33-year-old would receive a salary of 30 million euros a season.

It will be the biggest fee paid for a player aged over 30, but the Italians are gambling on the hope that Ronaldo can produce similar longevity to their former goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, 40, who left for Paris Saint-Germain last week.

Madrid thanked Ronaldo, describing him as a player "who has demonstrated he is the best in the world and who marked one of the most brilliant periods in the history of our club and world football."

In a letter posted on Real's website, the five-time World Player of the Year said his time in the Spanish capital, during which he became their record goalscorer, had been one of the happiest in his life.

"I only have feelings of huge thanks for this club, for the fans and for this city," he said.

"But I think the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that's why I asked the club to accept to transfer me. I ask everyone, and especially our supporters, to please understand me."

Ronaldo hinted after the Champions League final victory over Liverpool in May that he was considering leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

He won two La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns with Real after joining from Manchester United in 2009 for a then world-record fee of 80 million (HK$832.17 million).

The winger was converted into an out-and-out striker, scoring an incredible 451 goals for Los Blancos in just 438 matches, smashing the club's previous scoring record of 323 held by Raul.

"They have been nine unique years," added Ronaldo.

"It has been an exciting time for me, full of respect but also hard because Real Madrid have high expectations, but I know very well that I will never forget that I have enjoyed football here in a unique way."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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