MADRID: Five-times world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Italian champions Juventus from Real Madrid, the La Liga club said in a statement on Tuesday. Ronaldo, who joined Real from Manchester United in 2008 for a then world record £80 million ($106.27 million), is the Spanish club’s all-time top scorer with 451 goals in all competitions and won two La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies with them. “For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of its greatest symbols and a unique reference for the generations to come,” European champions Real said, adding that Ronaldo had asked to be transferred. “Real Madrid will always be his home”.
The transfer fee was not disclosed, but Spanish media said Ronaldo had signed a four-year deal and had cost Juventus 105 million euros ($123.24 million). The Portugal international scored two goals against Juventus in Real’s 4-1 win in the 2017 Champions League final and earlier this season struck a jaw-dropping bicycle kick against the Italians in a 3-0 win in a quarterfinal first-leg game in Turin which prompted Juve supporters to give him a standing ovation. The Portuguese, 33, converted a stoppage-time penalty in the second leg to knock the Italians out 4-3 on aggregate.
The signing of the latest Ballon d’Or winner and top scorer in the Champions League for the last six seasons represents a major coup for Juve, who have had a stranglehold on the Italian title since 2012 but have not won Europe’s top prize since 1996. The signing also strikes a blow for the profile of Serie A against La Liga, which has now lost two of its three most famous players in the last year after Paris St-Germain signed Neymar from Barcelona last August. — Reuters