Ronaldo’s time in Madrid has come to an end and is set to lead the next chapter of his life in Italy at Juventus.
Comunicado Oficial: Cristiano Ronaldo.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) 10 July 2018
⚽⭐🙌 Carta de Cristiano Ronaldo.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) 10 July 2018
Part of the obstacle that until now stood in the way of a Ronaldo move was the price. He has simply cost too much for any club to justify. But that price has come down, with the reported fee being €100m (£88.3m) for the 33-year-old. Ronaldo is signing a four-year deal and is expected to earn a yearly salary of around €30m.
Ronaldo Leaves Madrid for Juventus
“Beyond the titles he won during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has also been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and constant improvement.”
He Will Thrive
Even if he doesn’t sustain the level he once did for an entire season, the goalscoring is undeniable. He remains the best in the world at attacking any open space available. Playing at Juventus will allow him plenty of space and counter-attacking options. Though they usually control possession, they are also capable of sitting into a defensive block to lull their opponents to sleep. Ronaldo has always thrived in teams that play that style.
The Biggest Question
Off the pitch is where you could find the only possible issue with this move. Ronaldo has had a checkered history with his club managers. Personalities like Zidane, Ancelotti or Ferguson could do no wrong with him, while managers like Benitez, Mourinho, or Pellegrini had a much harder time with him.
Max Allegri, the current manager of Juventus, could fit into either of these groups above. But I would have a hunch that Allegri may fall into the former. Though his teams can play a pragmatic style, Allegri is set apart by the way he manages. If he doesn’t like something you’re doing on the pitch, you will damn-well know it. His voice can be heard through the sound fx mics for TV over all the fans, and you can always tell it’s him.
It’s an on-the-pitch managerial style similar to Mourinho, though less passive-aggressive than Mourinho can be. He has star players on both sides of the aisle about him; ask Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, or Andrea Pirlo about him and listen to the praise. But ask Leo Bonucci, or Paulo Dybala about him and the answer will be vastly different.
In Bonucci’s case, his move to Milan last summer was predicated on falling out with Allegri. They fell out over playing time an Allegri’s belief in a strong rotation policy. It’s a similar policy to what Zidane used with Real Madrid to win the double. And whether or not Ronaldo decides to buy into it will determine whether Allegri will sink or swim. If he falls out will Ronaldo it may not go as well as his previous fall-outs.
The Juventus Squad
Fitting Ronaldo into Allegri’s tactical formation should not be that challenging. He will most likely be flanked by Paulo Dybala on one side and Douglas Costa on the other. Costa whips in crosses like few others in the world, and there is not a better player attacking the ball from in wide than Ronaldo.
Juve’s midfield, however, is a little thin. Matuidi and Khedira, though still very good, are both over 30. Betancur played very well at the World Cup for Uruguay but is he ready for week-in, week-out Serie A action, I’m not sure. The addition of Emre Can on a free transfer will help, but the question remains “how much”.
The problem is that in order for them to retain Dybala they are going to have to make a few sales. Ronaldo’s reported 30 million euro per year earnings would be 40% of last seasons wage bill for Juventus. In order to absorb that size of salary guys like Higuain, Mario Mandzukic, Juan Cuadrado, Bernardeschi, Bentancur, Pjanic, and Alex Sandro could have to go up for sale.
That would be a lot for a manager who relies heavily on a rotation policy. They luckily have a host of young players coming back from loan as ready-made replacements. Guys like Mattia Caldara, Leonardo Spinazzola, Rolando Mandragora, & Moise Kean who all played very well in decent action on loan in Serie A. They will be required to ascend into the vacated roster spots and their success will determine whether Juve could hoist its eight-straight Serie A title.
But where adding Ronaldo helps the most is in the Champions League. The competition he has branded his own; Juventus buying Ronaldo displays an incredible thirst for that trophy. His arrival, and subsequent departure from Madrid, may tip the scales in the Italians’ favor. It’s been 22 years since Juve last hoisted the European Cup, and they’re tired of the heartbreak.
What’s Next In Madrid
Madrid will need to use this summer wisely. Their elder fans will remember how long it took them to replace Alfredo Di Stefano. Players like him or Cristiano Ronaldo don’t come around often. They will not be able to replace what he did and what he meant with only one man.
But this is what Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has wanted to do. He wants to bring in the players that reflect his image of Real Madrid. Some would say that image is Galacticos through and through. Others would harp on his interest in Spanish players, and building a predominantly Spanish team, with new former Spain manager Julien Lopetegui.
If you look at his transfer policy over the last few seasons, many of his signings have been young, Spanish players. Going back to moves for Isco or Asier Illarramendi and since moves for Marcos Asensio, Dani Ceballos, Theo Hernandez, and Marcos Llorente. He hasn’t attempted a ‘Galactico’ signing since James Rodriguez, four years ago.
Though there is one option looming, and it would certainly be some big news. At some point in the near future, Neymar will want to leave PSG. There are no places that would be able to act as a step-up for Neymar, other than Real Madrid.
It’s a move that feels more inevitable than unlikely, a matter of when not if. But that when will most likely be next summer, whether or not he does something this summer we will have to wait and see.
But remember that this is the end of an era. First Zidane left, now Ronaldo is gone, the two pillars of three straight European Cups. It’s time for Madrid to start anew. And with a treasure trove of assets and all kinds of directions to take, its time to sit back and enjoy.
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