Unbelievable news as Juventus revealed that they have signed Cristiano Ronaldo. I repeat: 5 time Ballon D’or winner and Real Madrid talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo joins the Serie A champions.
When I first heard the rumors linking Ronaldo with a move away from Madrid, I did not actually think anything of it. Over the past few years, every time the transfer window came about, Ronaldo was always rumored to have been unhappy and looking for a new club or wanting a return back to Manchester United. Each of these times, the rumors always were just that. Rumors. By the time the transfer window shut and the season started, Ronaldo had always remained with Real Madrid. It was unthinkable to see him play for any other club. Real Madrid for me, was synonymous with Cristiano Ronaldo. He was the face of the club and it is hard to imagine a Real Madrid team without him. It saddens me to say that his wonderful time in Madrid has come to its end.
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Ronaldo and co applaud their fans at the Santiago Bernabeu | Getty Images
Ronaldo was the player that made me fall in love with football. I remember watching him play for Manchester United prior to his move to Madrid. The hunger in his eyes and his mere presence seamed to elevate those around him and bring about a unique edge and confidence. His blazing runs from the flanks and long range rockets were amazing to watch. It was a great time to be a Man Utd fan.
When Real Madrid paid a then world record transfer fee to sign him, I was more excited than sad. Ronaldo was just entering his prime and he was going to join the most successful football club in the history of the sport. It was also exciting since Ronaldo was going to be playing head to head with Lionel Messi, the only other player who could be considered in the same tier as the Portuguese forward. Since then, 9 years have passed in a blink of an eye. Season after season passed of pure genius and greatness from Ronaldo. Even during an era where Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona were dominating the world, Cristiano helped Madrid weather the storm and became the player around whom the current Madrid squad was built around. This Madrid team have just recently won their third consecutive Champions League trophy. That is a tally of 4 in 5 years for Madrid and a total 13. Achieving this feat is nothing but special and this Real Madrid side should now be considered among the best club teams of all time. This would not have been possible without Ronaldo. His influence can not be understated. I mean he has scored 450 goals in 436 games! That is a ratio of more than a goal per game which is utterly insane. During these 9 years at Madrid, Ronaldo has also won the La Liga title, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de España, the UEFA Supercup and also the FIFA Club World Cup on different occasions. It wasn’t just trophies either. He broke countless club, domestic and international records as well. It almost felt like he was breaking a new record every day.
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Cristiano Ronaldo has achieved many titles during his time at Madrid | Getty Images
Normally as athletes get older and reach their thirties, they begin to slow down and decline. Regular players become slower and less effective physically. Ronaldo has shown that he is an exception for this too. His outstanding physique demonstrates his intense work rate and drive to consistently stay on top of his game. This has helped him compete at the highest level with every season that passed over the last 9 years. It is obvious the Cristiano we saw this past season is very different to the version that initially arrived in the Spanish capital. He is no longer the flamboyant and agile winger that he once was. He is now a lethal goal scoring machine. This change in style and skill set has been carefully planned to coincide with him getting older. The evolution of Ronaldo’s style allowed him to give his best to Real Madrid during all his time at the club.
Cristiano Ronaldo signed off with three back to back UCL trophies | Oleksandr Osipov / Shutterstock.com
Being a Ronaldo fan I could ramble on and on about how great he has been for Madrid. It is definitely sad that he has left the club and to be honest I am still trying to take it in. It feels like I have almost taken the last 9 years for granted, assuming in the back of my mind that Ronaldo would be at Madrid ‘forever’. Despite him leaving, it also a time of excitement. It will be interesting to see just how he fits in at Juventus and how Madrid act to replace him. Its not like CR7 has hung up his boots for good. It is a new chapter in his exciting story and I am definitely looking forward to seeing him win titles with Juve. If he manages to win a Seria A title with the Turin club, that would make him one of the only two people (other being Jose Mourinho) to have won league titles in the top three European leagues! I truly believe he will bring success to Juve and I know that he will be missed in Madrid. Thanks for the memories. #GrazieRonaldo