After hinting at his possible departure in the immediate aftermath of Real Madrid's third successive Champions League win, it has been announced that Cristiano Ronaldo has departed the Spanish giants for Juventus.
BREAKING: Real Madrid says Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving to join Italian club Juventus.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 10, 2018
Only a few months after earning a standing ovation from the Turin crowd for his astonishing bicycle kicked goal in the Champions League quarter-finals, Ronaldo will now join the 'Old Lady' after a nine-season stint with Real Madrid.
For a fee rumoured to be worth €100m, the Guardian reported that he has signed a four-year-deal worth £500,000 a week.
Joining Real from Manchester United for a record-breaking fee in 2009, Ronaldo enjoyed tremendous success in the Spanish capital. Scoring an astonishing 450 goals in 438 games, Ronaldo played an instrumental role in the club finally securing the la Décima in 2013-14.
Relinquishing their title the year after, Ronaldo was a key component as Real Madrid went on to win their successive Champions League wins; the latest coming in May against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool.
With numerous cup wins and two La Liga titles to show for his time in Spain also, Ronaldo secured four of his five coveted Ballon d'Or trophies whilst playing for Madrid. The club's captain, Sergio Ramos, was among the first to send out a message of thanks.
.@Cristiano, your goals, your numbers and everything we've won together speak for themselves. You have earned a special place in the history of @RealMadrid. As Madridistas we'll remember you always. It's been a pleasure to play alongside you, bicho. Big hig and good luck! 🍀👍🏻 pic.twitter.com/NaywaDd3gw
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) July 10, 2018
Ronaldo's fifth Champions League win after initially claiming the title with United in 2008, his move to Juventus undoubtedly coincides with the Italian club's desire to to end their 22-year wait for European success.
In a letter from Ronaldo himself to the Real Madrid fans, the club's record goalscorer revealed that his nine-year stint in Madrid has "been possibly the happiest of my life":
I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for this hobby and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received. However, I believe that the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept transferring me. I feel that way and I ask everyone, and especially our followers, to please understand me.
Ronaldo went on to thank "the club, the President, the directors, my colleagues, all the technicians, doctors, physios and incredible workers that make everything work and that are pending every detail tirelessly ... and the fans."
At 33-years of age, Ronaldo has most recently been seen playing with Portugal in the 2018 World Cup. Leading the side to a round-of-16 defeat to Uruguay, the tournament did not go entirely to plan for the 2016 European Championship winners.
However, with four goals in as many games, Ronaldo memorably contributed to one of the games of the tournament; Portugal's opening round 3-3 draw with Spain, in which the former Real Madrid man scored a hat-trick - the last of which was a spectacular free-kick to level proceedings late on.
In joining Juventus, Ronaldo will go down a path similar stars of a certain age have previously followed and enjoyed tremendous success whilst doing so. Furthermore, with Juventus so keen to end their long wait for Champions League success, he joins a team with a very clear understanding of what they want, and what they hope he can deliver.