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13th Jul 2018

The exact moment Cristiano Ronaldo decided to leave Real Madrid speaks volumes

This sums up what motivates him

Robert Redmond

It’s the end of an era for football.

After nine years with the club, Cristiano Ronaldo has left Real Madrid. The Portuguese forward’s transfer to Juventus was confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.

Ronaldo is set to sign a four-year deal with the Italian champions and his transfer fee will cost €100m.

Amazingly, Madrid have made a profit on the 33-year-old who joined from Manchester United in 2009 for £80m, then a world-record transfer fee. He repaid that investment many times over during his time at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo scored 450 goals in 438 appearances for Marid, he won 15 trophies and the Ballon d’Or four times. He has been, along with Lionel Messi, the best player of his generation and he still has a few years left at the top of the game.

It could prove a very wise transfer for Juventus, as the Italian club seek to win the Champions League for the first time since 1996.

The transfer caught many by surprise. Ronaldo expressed his dissatisfaction with Real on several occasions over the past few seasons. However, it was usually resolved by him remaining at the Bernabeu and getting a new contract. So, when he spoke about leaving the club after they beat Liverpool in the Champions League final in May, many dismissed it as another attempt to try to get Madrid to meet his demands.

It turns out that Ronaldo was very serious about leaving the club. According to Spanish football expert Graham Hunter, Ronaldo settled on signing for Juventus after the Champions League quarter-finals in April. In the first-leg in Turin, Ronaldo scored twice and the second goal was an astonishing overhead-kick. Juventus’ fans in the stadium gave him a well-deserved standing ovation for his incredible feat.

“This thing took root when he scored that outrageous overhead goal against Juventus in the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League,” Hunter has said on his podcast, The Big Interview.

“The fans applauded him and he bowed to them. In the mix-zone afterwards, he spoke about how he always admired Juventus.”

It appears that this moment convinced Ronaldo that Juventus was a club worth joining. Unlike at Madrid, Ronaldo seemingly felt that he would be appreciated at the Italian club. This, along with the money on offer, was the key factor in his decision to leave Real.

Around the same time, his relationship with Florentino Perez, the Madrid president cooled.

“It came to a head several months ago, when Cristiano was telling Real Madrid time and time again that he wasn’t particularly happy there,” Hunter said.

“And they went, ‘Okay, what we’ll do is, we’ll lower your buyout clause so that it’s €100m, rather than €1,000m’. And, I think it’s pretty well established that Cristiano Ronaldo, at that point, took it that that meant Real Madrid no longer wanted him quite as much. And the deal was struck.”

Hunter says that Ronaldo never really felt fully appreciated at Madrid, and there was tension because Ramon Calderon, rather Perez, was the Real president who completed the deal to land the Portuguese forward from United.

Ronaldo is also understood to said following the Champions League final victory over Juventus that if United were based in a Mediterranian country, he would re-join them as he always felt appreciated at Old Trafford.