Cristiano Ronaldo completes stunning Juventus move
5-time Balon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is to be a Juventus player next season, with a jaw-dropping £100million being paid for the 33 year old.
A long-running story this summer which was scarcely believed, the ageing forward has officially swapped Madrid for Turin, penning a four-year deal with the Italian champions to round off the most spectacular transfer story of the summer.
The huge transfer fee required to bring in the most-capped Portuguese player in history smashes the previous world record signing for a 33-year old, which was set just two seasons ago by Manchester City, who purchased then-33-year old Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo for £17million.
In fact, the fee also eclipses the then-world record fee paid for Cristiano by Real Madrid in 2009, when a 24-year old Ronaldo was signed for £80million from Manchester United, a deal looking increasingly good value for money as the years pass and the transfer market evolves.
Ronaldo had previously hinted that his time at Real Madrid was coming to an end just minutes after he and his side sealed a third-straight Champions League victory at the end of last season, stating that "In coming days I'll discuss my future. It's been very nice playing for Real Madrid."
Many can be forgiven for, at the time, speculating that such a statement was simply used to gain some of the limelight after a below-par performance in the Champions League final and that his future at Madrid wasn't truly in doubt. However, over the following weeks, a potential move has been brewing and his permanent move to Juventus has finally come to fruition.
In his farewell message to Real Madrid fans, Ronaldo stated that he believes "the time has come to open a new stage in my life... I know that the time has come for a new cycle."
He went on to say thanks to all associated with Real Madrid, stating that he feels "enormous gratitude for this club" and that Madrid "conquered my heart, and that of my family."
The signing of the current Balon d'Or holder serves as an incredible sign of intent from the Turin-based club and their increasing desire and ambition to finally lift the Champions League for the first time since 1996.
Having appeared in two finals in the past four years, Juventus have shown that they can more than hold their own against the other giants of European football, and an addition like Ronaldo, an incredible marquee signing that comes with a hardly fathomable goalscoring record, could be the final piece they've been looking for to finish the Champions League puzzle and bring back the ultimate silverware.
Additionally, such a move should also prove magnificent for Portugal's talisman too, having the opportunity to once again prove himself in another division, and to bring the ultimate glory to a side which has been unable to lift the Champions League trophy for over two decades.
Motivated by being the best in the world, a step into a new club and a new division, having achieved everything on offer in La Liga, will be a prospect Ronaldo will wholeheartedly enjoy, and to prove himself in a third country will be a challenge he will be desperate to achieve, perhaps seeing it as another vindication of his ability compared to his nearest rival Lionel Messi, who has only ever tested himself at the highest level in Spain with Barcelona.
Additionally, having received a standing ovation from Juventus fans for his performance for Real Madrid against the Italian champions in the Champions League just last season, Ronaldo knows that he will be truly valued when he turns out for Juventus, with the loss of appreciation from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez thought to be a major reason in his desire to depart.