Juventus’ signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for almost £100m has arguably been the biggest news in the football world this week. That is no mean feat of course, what with the little matter of the World Cup semi-finals going on over the course of these few days. The fact that this transfer deal has overshadowed the largest football tournament on the planet is no real surprise however. Ronaldo can lay genuine claim to being the best footballer in the world today, and constantly battles with Lionel Messi for that accolade in the media and in just about any conversation taking place on the subject. The fact that he has left Real Madrid is arguably as surprising as anything else – it has been one of those departures long rumoured but never implemented.
In splashing the cash and getting their man, Juventus have pulled off a real coup. The four-time Champions League winner moves to the Allianz Stadium to embrace a new challenge on new shores, and ideally to deliver that elusive third Champions League trophy to Turin. Not since 1996 have the Old Lady lifted that coveted cup, though they did reach the final in 2017. On that occasion, they were soundly beaten 4-1 by (who else) Real Madrid, with two goals and a man of the match performance from (you guessed it) Ronaldo. Now he will be turning out in the famous black and white shirt, having signed a four year contract with the Serie A outfit.
The thing is, this deal seems almost like a bargain for Juventus. For the £100m outlay they will likely recoup more than that through commercial income, shirt sales etc. With Juve having secured the Serie A title this past season, the deal is a real signal of intent to their title rivals – they won’t be giving it up without a fight. It’s almost like they are issuing a “hands-off” warning with regards to the Serie A championship. Ultimately though, while other clubs will have to work incredibly hard to gulf the new quality present in Juventus’ team, the whole of the league should be able to benefit from his arrival. There is the matter of them going up against such an incredible player – that will always be a learning curve, no matter how experienced your left-back may be.
The real crux of it, though, is that the transfer really does put Serie A back on the map as a viable destination for some of the world’s finest players. Growing up in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, Serie A wasn’t as accessible on UK TV but it was the league you most wanted to watch. Some of the world’s finest plied their trade there – Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Del Piero, Gabriel Batistuta, Roberto Baggio…..the list goes on. While we have been used to seeing top talent in the league of course more recently, they have often ended up being on the way out rather than on the way in. Paul Pogba left for Man Utd, Alvaro Morata departed for Real Madrid (and ultimately wound up at Chelsea), Ibrahimovic departed for Barcelona a few years ago….the list, again, goes on.
Admittedly Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira moved to the league when they left Real for Juventus (though Higuain had a spell at Napoli in between), but otherwise the highest profile – and highest priced – transfers have been away from Serie A. Ronaldo coming in proves that this is still a league that deserves some of the finest talent in the world, the passionate fanbase deserve a chance to welcome a new legend in rather than say a tearful goodbye to one. Perhaps this will be just the first deal in an influx of some truly top talent to come back to Italy, and Serie A will once again become arguably the most exciting league in the world (if it wasn’t already of course). In this day and age people can seek the highlights out online rather than waiting for them on a Sunday morning. This deal is wonderful not just for Juventus, but for the rest of Italian football as well.
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