Football: Goals, star power... and a long-awaited Champions League trophy? Five things Cristiano Ronaldo can bring to Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo at Allianz Stadium, in Turin, Italy, on April 3, 2018.
Cristiano Ronaldo at Allianz Stadium, in Turin, Italy, on April 3, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Just before midnight on Tuesday (July 10), Spanish giants Real Madrid announced that their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, would leave the club for Italian side Juventus after the two clubs agreed a €100 million (S$160 million) deal for the Portuguese forward.

We look at five things the Portuguese superstar can bring to the Old Lady of Turin:

1. Goals

It is no secret Ronaldo is a veritable goal-scoring machine. He has an astonishing record of 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid, and is the famous club's record goal-scorer.

He has scored 120 goals in the Champions League - also a record in the competition.

Even at 33, he's not showing any signs of slowing down. Two weeks ago, he became the oldest player to score a hat-trick at the World Cup, with his treble against 2010 world champions Spain.

Ronaldo is known for taking meticulous care of his physique, and in an interview last year, said he felt as though he could play until he is 41. If that happens, expect more goal-scoring records to tumble.

2. The Champions League trophy

Other than being the Champions League's record scorer, CR7 has hit numerous other milestones in what is widely considered the most prestigious club competition in the world.

He is the only player to win the trophy five times, and has won the most games in the competition's history (97).

He has scored in a record number of consecutive games (11) and the most number of finals (three), and has been top scorer a record seven seasons.

Simply put, the Champions League is where Ronaldo shines.

What are the odds his signing for Turin could give them their first Champions League title since 1996?

Spare a thought, though, for Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon, though, who left the club in May after 17 seasons, with the Champions League the only major club honour he failed to win.

3. Revenue

In 2010, just a year after Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid from Manchester United, the Spanish side reported that sales of over one million Ronaldo shirts and memorabilia helped them recoup his £80 million (S$144 million) transfer fee.

Needless to say, Real raked in the cash over the last eight years, as Ronaldo made his ascent into one of football's two global superstars, alongside Lionel Messi.

While football purists may argue that Messi is the more talented footballer, Ronaldo, at least, is the undisputed cash cow of the sport. Forbes reported that the Portuguese star was the highest-paid athlete in 2017, after he earned US$93 million (S$126 million), more than basketball icon LeBron James (US$86 million), Messi (US$80 million) and tennis great Roger Federer (US$64 million).

And from June 2017 to 2018, Ronaldo's sponsors racked up US$936 million (S$1.27 billion) in media value across his social media accounts. The tally is more than seven times any other athlete.

 
 
 
 

4. Star Power

Gone are the days the Italian Serie A ruled the roost. Between 1989 and 1998, Italian sides featured in nine of the 10 Champions League finals, a testament to their dominance of European football.

These days, the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga are acclaimed as the best leagues in Europe, and even the German Bundesliga is touted as being more exciting.

Even though his arrival at star-studded Juventus might not make the league more competitive - the club are record 38-time Italian champions and have won the title the last seven straight seasons - Ronaldo will bring some much-needed sparkle to Italian football.

After all, in 2016, he became the first athlete to have over 200 million followers on social media, across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, joining only two other people - American pop stars Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.

5. The Ballon D'or

In two decades from 1980 to 2000, players from the Serie A swept 13 of the 20 Ballons D'Or.

In the 18 years since, there have been only two - Pavel Nedved in 2003 and Kaka in 2007.

In fact, Kaka was the last player not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, to win the Ballon D'Or.

With Ronaldo and Messi in their 30s, and the emergence of stars like Kylian Mbappe at the ongoing World Cup, some have predicted their dominance of the world's best player award will not last much longer.

But one of the two is still expected to win the next Ballon D'Or, after sterling seasons with their clubs.

And if Ronaldo helps Juventus to their eighth straight Serie A title next season, and a first Champions League for over two decades, the Ballon D'Or could well be headed for Turin in 2019.