It would seem that for Cristiano Ronaldo, the World Cup is a lot less interesting if he is not playing in it. On Sunday at 5.25pm, just when France and Croatia were on the pitch in the deciding game of the tournament, the Portuguese player’s private jet made a surprise landing at Caselle airport in Turin. It’s likely that he was the only major soccer player in the world to miss the chance to watch the match. But Juventus, the Italian club that just paid Real Madrid €105 million for the 33-year-old, is not buying just any sportsman.
Ronaldo himself took charge of reminding everyone of that on Monday at a somewhat somber official presentation at Juve, with no fans in attendance and a certain air of melancholy about the player when he was reminded of the past. “I don’t think Real Madrid fans are weeping,” he ventured, drawing a veil over his time at the club in the Spanish capital.
At Juventus, Ronaldo will be getting a yearly salary of around €30 million, according to some sources, and he will have to pay hardly any tax on the income he generates abroad
At Juventus, Ronaldo will be getting a yearly salary of around €30 million, according to some sources, and he will have to pay hardly any tax on the income he generates abroad.
Despite the scale of the signing, the club canceled the presentation of their new player, apparently, they explained, so as to not give him special treatment compared to the rest of the team. It sounded odd – even more so taking into account just who it is they have signed, and the baggage that he brings with him.
“I have made history in all of the clubs I have played at,” Ronaldo told reporters in his first statements. And in a way, he has already done so at the Italian club. The Portuguese player is their most expensive purchase ever, and the whole deal goes against their usual way of doing things. Juve is more accustomed to home-growing their Golden Boot-winners (Platini, Zidane, Cannavaro…), but it has just bought five of them at one go – Ronaldo even claimed on Monday that he could win another. What’s more, his arrival will completely destabilize the club’s rigorous accounts and salary scales.
The whole thing is unprecedented – not even the arrival of Gonzalo Higuaín two years ago from Naples, in exchange for €90 million. Since the “Moggigate” corruption scandal blew up in 2004, which saw Juventus demoted to Serie B, the team has been scrupulous with all of its operations. But after having been left on the brink of success in recent years, the team needed dynamite – above all in the commercial sense.
The Turin brand is, from now on, associated with the Portuguese player and the tourism sector trusts it will be able to boost visitor numbers thanks to him
The expectations over the arrival of CR7, as Ronaldo is widely known, transcends sporting questions. “I’m not here on vacation, I’m coming to win,” the player stated on Monday at his press conference. “Juve has given me an excellent opportunity. Players at my age are going to China or to Qatar. This is a step forward.” But in Turin, everyone is hoping to get a slice of the pie thanks to the presence of the Portuguese player – even those who until now were living on the margins of soccer. On Monday, the local trade association plastered the city with posters welcoming Ronaldo, with a photo of him kissing a Ballon d’Or. The Turin brand is, from now on, associated with the Portuguese player and the tourism sector trusts it will be able to boost visitor numbers thanks to him.
But for now, Ronaldo has not been seen much. He arrived on Sunday evening, and went straight to the Golf Royal Park I Rovery to meet and dine with the Agnelli family, the owners of Juventus. And then on Monday he passed his medical exam – all the while with no clear plan as to who will take his place at Real Madrid. But all that is in the past for him. “It has been a brilliant story, it was a club that helped me with everything,” he explained to the press on Monday. “But this is a new stage in my life. I thank the fans who have helped me to become what I am today, but that is all over.”
English version by Simon Hunter.