The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and football fever in genera is at its peak now but it is the ousted Cristiano Ronaldo who has been making all the headlines in the last few days. The Portuguese superstar is on the brink of leaving Real Madrid, a club which he has represented with distinction over the last 9 years and has banged in an astonishing 450 goals for.
According to Forbes, Cristiano is the third highest paid athlete in the world and his sponsorship income is only surpassed by boxer Floyd Mayweather. He will, therefore, not leave for a matter of some extra Euros. It is respect that the 33-year-old craves, something which Madrid supremo Florentino Perez is accused of having lacked for his star player.
Juventus chairman wants Cristiano to lead the club to greater heights, made 28 calls to the player
If the relations between Perez and Ronaldo are at an all time low, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has made all the right moves to appease the star forward. Turin based newspaper Tuttosport has even reported that Agnelli has made as many as 28 personal phone calls to Ronaldo and the player has been captivated by the kind of respect he has been getting from the Old Lady bosses.
It has been further reported by Portuguese daily Record that Agnelli made no qualms in communicating to Ronaldo that only he could take Juventus to even greater heights and lead them to the elusive Champions League title under head coach Massimiliano Allegri. The former Manchester United attacker is known to have been seduced by the Italian champions’ approach and the project presented to him by Agnelli and company.
Tuttosport, in their story, went a step further by stating that Juventus want Ronaldo to take them beyond the legacy of past greats like Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro del Piero, Pavel Nedved and Gigi Buffon. The club has indeed won seven Serie A titles on the bounce but the Champions League has been elusive for over two decades now.
Ronaldo seduced by Agnelli’s approach
Ronaldo, on his part, has also said YES to Agnelli. The 33-year-old enigma has clearly instructed his agent Jorge Mendes to not entertain any other European offers, irrespective of the financial terms on offer elsewhere. As per a recent report in leading Spanish daily AS, Manchester United, a club where Cristiano played for six seasons between 2003 and 2009, are also reported to be circling but are likely to miss out.
The now famous release clause of €1000 million also deserves a mention here. While the Real Madrid functionaries maintain that the figure stands, Ronaldo and his representatives are taking refuge in the fact that they have the possession of signed document reiterating the fact that he will be free to leave for a significantly lower amount of €100 million should an offer arrive this summer.
Real Madrid yet to receive any concrete offer from Juventus
This is where the first stumbling block comes in as Marca have made it clear that Real Madrid are yet to receive a concrete offer from Juventus and silently hoping that Cristiano will change his mind to stay at the club and lead a glorious new chapter under new boss Julen Lopetegui. However, president Perez and other hotshots at the club are also aware of the fact that for the first time in many years, their biggest asset is serious about moving away from the club and his desire is much more than occasional anger.
As of now, it is expected that Giuseppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici, Juve’s general director and sporting director respectively, will arrive in the Spanish capital in the coming hours to address the issue and seal the deal. While the Old Lady already has an agreement in place with the player, its representatives will have to grind hard to meet Real Madrid’s demands regarding the transfer.
Other than standing firm on the stance that Ronaldo’s release clause is still €1000 million, Madrid also want him to address a press conference and publicly reveal the reasons behind him leaving the club.
Staying on the issue, super agent Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo’s long-term associate and representative, categorically told Record, “If Cristiano leaves Madrid, he will be eternally grateful to the President, to the entire board, to all the employees of the club, to the technical and medical staff, to his colleagues and the Madridistas from all over the world.
“If the transfer (to Juventus) happens and Cristiano makes the move to Turin, it would be to embark on a new stage and a new challenge in his brilliant career.”
Marca further suggest that Mendes had a crucial meeting with Jose Angel Sanchez, Real Madrid’s sporting director on Wednesday to understand the club’s stance and lay the foundations for the deal to successfully go through. But there remains a lot which is yet to be polished. For now, Real’s Board of Directors will meet next Tuesday to deal with the yearly financial closure also discuss the whole ‘Ronaldo situation’ and a possible replacement, if needed.
Juventus shareholders skeptical about Ronaldo’s financial viability
It is now common knowledge that club Juventus is a public listed entity in Italy and its shares even hit the roof when news of Cristiano Ronaldo’s imminent arrival at the club made headlines on Wednesday. However, the club’s shareholders also expressed their concern over the whole ‘deal’ as they are bothered by the fact that signing Ronaldo will be a significant hit on the club’s budget.
Speaking to renowned Spanish journalist Quim Domenech on popular TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones, the Italian club’s shareholders even revealed that general director Marotta considers the money being offered to the player who is 33 years of age as ‘utter madness’ as the club will have to offload three or four important players to afford Ronaldo’s salary €30 million salary.
The shareholders are also aware of the reigning Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and are all the more worried considering AC Milan’s recent plight. Keeping everything negative aspect in mind, they are also aware that backing away from the deal after mass hysteria will not be good for the club’s image.
Real want a grand farewell for their talisman, Cristiano wants a simple goodbye
One thing that Madrid want to avoid with Cristiano is to repeat the mistakes they made while sending off legends like Raul and Iker Casillas, who were essentially shipped out via the back door and without any proper farewells. The club understands that here is player who now stands on the same pedestal as the great Alfredo Di Stefano in their history and deserves a grand sending off ceremony if he indeed makes the make to Turin this summer.
However, in what can be termed as a bit of a dampener, a report in AS states that Ronaldo has no intentions of saying a public goodbye and his idea is to send a simple message to the club and its millions of supporters across the globe.
While it will soon be known if Cristiano indeed moves to Juventus this summer, the level of impact his arrival can make in Italy cannot be undermined in any way. The player might just be for Juve what the legendary Diego Maradona was for Napoli all those years ago. Heck, he might even bring the prestigious Ballon d’Or back to Italian shores – an award which was last seen in the country when Kaka won it while playing for AC Milan in 2007.
Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus cannot be limited to be seen in the light of his €30 million salary (which will in reality be touching €60 million mark with the taxes involved), unlimited sponsorship deals and contracts. This is a deal which can hit extraterrestrial levels for both Cristiano and Juve. We’re waiting!
WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo’s ridiculous bicycle kick vs. Juventus