Spain media bid 'adios' to Ronaldo as Juve talk swirls

MADRID • For over a decade, Cristiano Ronaldo has been synonymous with goals, titles and the No. 7 shirt. With the calendar turning to 7/7, the Spanish and Italian media have reported that the Portuguese superstar could be unveiled as a Juventus player today.

Spain's media said goodbye to Ronaldo after nine seasons at Real Madrid while Italy's welcomed him yesterday.

"Ciao CR7" read the headline of Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo, while Spanish sports newspaper AS wrote that the Italian champions "hopes to announce (the news) tomorrow in its stadium" under the headline "Cristiano exit imminent".

Spain's Marca newspaper claimed that Ronaldo has "already given his word to (Juventus president Andrea) Agnelli" even though the Turin club had not yet received a firm response from Real.

It added that while Real maintain Ronaldo's buy-out clause is €1 billion (S$1.6 billion) - which would hinder any potential transfer - "the player and his representatives say there is a signed document freeing him for €100 million".

Ronaldo was applauded at Juventus Stadium by the Serie A club's fans last season, after scoring a spectacular overhead kick in Real's 3-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. He went on to win his fourth title in Europe's elite club competition - his 15th major title at Madrid.

Italian daily Corriere Dello Sport is expecting the forward in Turin today. "Italy is only a step away and Madrid is looking for its new top player," it said.

GOOD TIME TO PART

They're on the hook for him until June 2021, when he'll be 36 years old. This is already a veteran squad, and the last thing you want is a situation in which everybody gets old all of a sudden.

GABRIELE MARCOTTI, Italian football expert, on why Real are willing to unload Ronaldo now.

Gazzetta Dello Sport had the headline "CR7 Juve, we can do it", and said Juventus were "closer than ever to the deal of the century".

Numerous media outlets have reported since Wednesday that Juventus offered Ronaldo a four-year contract worth €30 million a year.

Italian football expert Gabriele Marcotti told ESPN on Thursday that one of the reasons Real could let go of their all-time top scorer - with 451 goals in all competitions - is to bring down the average age of their team by replacing the 33-year-old with a new galactico.

"They're on the hook for him until June 2021, when he'll be 36 years old. This is already a veteran squad, and the last thing you want is a situation in which everybody gets old all of a sudden," the ESPN pundit said.

"They haven't made a galactico-type signing since Gareth Bale, and that was five years ago. If you bring in another superstar, they're going to want assurances about where they stand vis-a-vis Ronaldo."

'PERFECT' MATCH

In his head, Cristiano is a Juventus player. Juve has found a financial way to pay for his wages and fee. Real Madrid willing to let him go...

GUILLEM BALAGUE, Spanish football expert, on the Portuguese superstar already mentally prepared to leave.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague weighed in on Thursday, providing insight into the player's thinking.

"In his head, Cristiano is a Juventus player. Juve has found a financial way to pay for his wages and fee. Real Madrid willing to let him go. No offer has arrived yet to Real, but Jorge Mendes has confirmed to Real that it will," he tweeted, before adding hours later that "If he wants to go so desperately (Real) will open the door. But ONLY for the right offer."

Ronaldo moved to Real from Manchester United in 2009 and Balague, who also wrote Ronaldo's biography, confirmed that the English Premier League giants are not interested in hijacking the deal.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2018, with the headline 'Spain media bid 'adios' to Ronaldo as Juve talk swirls'. Print Edition | Subscribe