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Cristiano Ronaldo says ‘adiós’ to Real Madrid and ‘ciao’ to Juventus

Real Madrid on Tuesday announced the transfer of modern great Cristiano Ronaldo to Italian champions Juventus, with the Portuguese superstar saying the time had come "for a new stage" in his life.

Cristiano Ronaldo says 'adiós' to Real Madrid and 'ciao' to Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo will play for Juventus. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Spanish media reports said the move could cost Juventus €105 million, with Ronaldo signing a four-year contract worth €30 million per season.

The 33-year-old is expected to have a medical in Turin next week before being unveiled by his new side.

“Today Real Madrid want to give thanks to a player who has demonstrated he is the best in the world and who marked one of the most brilliant periods in the history of our club and world football,” Real Madrid said in a statement.


Photo: Isabella Bonotto/AFP

In a letter posted on the Real website, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said his time in the Spanish capital, during which he became their record goalscorer, had been one of the happiest in his life.

“I only have feelings of huge thanks for this club, for the fans and for this city,” he said. “But I think the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that's why I asked the club to accept to transfer me.

“I ask everyone, and especially our supporters, to please understand me.”

Juventus begin their pre-season schedule with a friendly against Bayern Munich on July 25th in Philadelphia, while Ronaldo could make his competitive debut for the club the following month, with Serie A to announce its fixtures for the upcoming season on July 20th.


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Ronaldo, whose World Cup campaign with Portugal was ended in the last 16 by Uruguay just under two weeks ago, hinted after May's Champions League final victory over Liverpool that he was considering leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

“It was very nice to be in Madrid,” he said at the time, using the past tense. He later played down the comment, but doubts over his future at Madrid lingered, especially after he had also threatened to leave the previous year.

Despite failing to score in the 3-1 win in Kiev which sealed Real's third successive European Cup, Ronaldo finished as the Champions League leading scorer for the sixth consecutive time with 15 goals.

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Now Juventus will be hoping that he can maintain his ruthlessness in front of goal for a few more years and finally help them end an agonising wait to become European champions for the first time since 1996, despite a prolonged period of domestic success.

Massimiliano Allegri's side claimed a seventh straight Serie A title last season by holding off an inspired Napoli, but fell to Real in Europe after a dramatic quarter-final, when Ronaldo ended a thrilling fightback by the Old Lady with a controversial last-gasp penalty.

Ronaldo also scored twice in the 2016 final as Real downed Juve 4-1 in Cardiff.

It will be the biggest fee ever paid for a player aged over 30, but the Italians are gambling on the hope that Ronaldo can produce similar longevity to their former goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, 40, who left for Paris Saint-Germain last week.


Ronaldo on the pitch with Buffon. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

But they are not the only ones with faith in one of the best players of all time, with Juventus' shares on the stock exchange spiking by almost 40 percent since rumours of Ronaldo's arrival first surfaced on June 28th, and by 5.7 percent on Tuesday alone.

Ronaldo won two La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns with Real after joining from Manchester United in 2009. The winger was converted into an out-and-out striker, scoring an incredible 451 goals for Los Blancos in just 438 matches.

Serie A will be the third of Europe's four biggest leagues that Ronaldo has graced, and his move shows that none of his drive and ambition have decreased in the latter stages of his career.


Italian newspapers celebrate Ronaldo's impending arrival. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

By AFP's Marianne Barriaux

SPORT

PHOTOS: Italy’s most memorable medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The Tokyo Olympics were Italy's best Games yet, with Italian athletes taking home more medals than ever before. Here are the highlights.

PHOTOS: Italy’s most memorable medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs and Gianmarco Tamberi celebrate after winning golds in the 100m sprint and high jump. Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

With ten golds, ten silvers and 20 bronzes, the Azzurri representing Italy in Tokyo were tenth on the medal table overall and top in Italian sporting history.

Previously the most medals Italy had ever won at a single Olympics was 36, which the country hadn’t equalled since the Rome Games in 1960.

READ ALSO: ‘Do Italy just win everything now?’: Celebrations after Italian athletes take Olympic gold

As well as a ceremony at the presidential palace in September, Italy’s Olympic champions will be welcomed back with prize money from the Italian National Olympic Committee: gold medalists are awarded €180,000 each, while silver medallists get €90,000 and bronze medallists get €60,000.

And then there’s the glory: after an exceptionally successful summer of Italian sport and music, Italy’s Olympic team dubbed their athletes “stupor mundi” – Latin for ‘the wonder of the world’. 

Italy’s gold medals at the 2020 Olympics

  • Men’s high jump: Gianmarco Tamberi

Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi couldn’t have been happier to share the gold with his fellow competitor Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, in what was hailed as one of the most touching moments of the Games. 

Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP
  • Men’s 100m: Lamont Marcell Jacobs

Relatively unknown long jumper-turned-sprinter Lamont Marcell Jacobs was in the form of his life when he outran the favourites and hurtled to first place in the biggest race in men’s athletics. He’s the first Italian ever to qualify for the Olympic final of the event, let alone win it.

Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP
  • Men’s 4 x 100m relay 

Lorenzo Patta, Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Eseosa Desalu and Filippo Tortu pulled off an astonishing victory by the smallest of margins, with Tortu flinging himself over the finish line to snatch gold from the favourites, Great Britain, by just a hundredth of a second. It was another historic first for Italy: the country has never before won the event, and the last time an Italian team got onto the podium was at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin (silver). 

Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP
  • Men’s 20km race walk: Massimo Stano
  • Women’s 20km race walk: Antonella Palmisano

Antonella Palmisano cemented Italy’s domination of the walking competition when she followed up her teammate Massimo Stano’s gold with her own victory a day later. She actually performed slightly faster at the Rio Olympics in 2016, but that time only earned her fourth last time round.

Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP
  • Track cycling, men’s team pursuit

Italy’s four-man team set a new track cycling world record by completing 16 laps (4km) in just 3:42.032. While Great Britain had long dominated the event and Denmark were reigning World Champions, no Italian team had won it since the Rome Olympics of 1960.

Photo by Greg Baker / AFP
  • Karate, men’s kumite -75kg: Luigi Busa
  • Rowing, lightweight women’s double sculls 
Valentina Rodini (L) and Federica Cesarini (R) celebrate their win in the lightweight women’s double sculls final. Photo by Luis ACOSTA / AFP
  • Sailing, mixed multihull – Nacra 17 foiling
  • Taekwondo, Men’s -58kg: Vito Dell’Aquila

Vito Dell’Aquila won Italy its first gold of the Games, at the age of just 20. It was his first Olympics but at this rate, it won’t be his last.

Photo by Javier SORIANO / AFP

Italy’s silver medals at the 2020 Olympics

  • Artistic gymnastics, women’s floor exercise: Vanessa Ferrari

Arguably Italy’s greatest competing gymnast, 30-year-old Vanessa Ferrari proved the value of experience when she became the first Italian to win an individual Olympic medal for women’s artistic gymnastics.

Photo by Loic VENANCE / AFP
  • Men’s individual archery: Mauro Nespoli
  • Men’s kayak single 200m: Manfredi Rizza
  • Fencing, men’s foil individual: Daniele Garrozo
  • Fencing, men’s sabre individual: Luigi Samele
  • Fencing, men’s sabre team

Fencing has long been one of Italy’s strongest sports, and these Games were no exception. Altogether Italian fencers took three silvers and two bronzes in both team and individual events. 

Italy’s Luca Curatoli (L) competes against South Korea’s Gu Bongil in the men’s sabre team gold medal bout. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
  • Women’s skeet shooting: Diana Bacosi
  • Swimming, men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay
  • Swimming, men’s 800m freestyle: Gregorio Paltrinieri 
  • Weightlifting, women’s 64kg: Giorgia Bordignon
    Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

    Italy’s bronze medals at the 2020 Olympics

    • Women’s individual archery: Lucilla Boari
    • Women’s featherweight boxing: Irma Testa

    Irma “Butterfly” Testa made history as the first Italian woman to win an Olympic medal for boxing, a victory she dedicated to all of Italy’s female boxers.

    Photo by Luis ROBAYO / POOL / AFP
    • Women’s cycling road race: Elisa Longo Borghini 
    • Track cycling, men’s omnium: Elia Viviani 
    • Men’s 10km marathon swimming: Gregorio Paltrinieri 

    Gregorio Paltrinieri is one of the best long-distance swimmers there is, holding the men’s world record for the 1500m freestyle. He comes home from Tokyo with two medals: silver in the 800m freestyle, and bronze in the gruelling 10km swim.

    Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
    • Swimming, men’s 100m breaststroke: Nicolo Martinenghi
    • Swimming, men’s 100m butterfly: Federico Burdisso
    • Swimming, men’s 4 x 100m medley relay
    • Swimming, women’s 800m freestyle: Simona Quadarella 
    • Judo, women’s -52kg: Odette Giuffrida
    Photo by Franck FIFE / AFP
    • Judo, women’s -63kg: Maria Centracchio
    • Fencing, women’s épée team
    • Fencing, women’s foil team 
    • Karate, women’s kata: Viviana Bottaro

    Accomplished karateka Viviana Bottaro won Italy its first Olympic medal in karate, which made its debut at the Tokyo Games. 

    Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
    • Rowing, lightweight men’s double sculls
    • Rowing, men’s four
    • Rhythmic gymnastics, group all-around

    Nicknamed le Farfalle (‘the Butterflies’), Italy’s five-woman rhythmic gymnastic team provided one of Italy’s last medal-winning performances on the final day of the Games, and one of the most spectacular.

    Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP
    • Weightlifting, men’s 67kg: Mirko Zanni 
    • Weightlifting, men’s 81kg: Antonino Pizzolato
    • Wrestling, men’s freestyle 97kg: Abraham de Jesus Conyedo Ruano 
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