“It’s been beautiful to play for Real Madrid.” When Cristiano Ronaldo spoke these words after the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in which he assisted his team, Real Madrid lift their third straight European title, many observers’ interest was piqued, although some might have shrugged them off as simply Cristiano being Cristiano. After all, Cristiano has always had tantrums and somewhat frosty relationship with Fiorentino Peres, and such bumps in their relationship have always been smoothed over by signing yet another bumper contract.
This time, however, it was different. This time, it was happening. On 11th July 2018, Juventus announced that Cristiano Ronaldo had joined them. The fee being quoted by insiders is about 100 million euros. That is enough to make him the fifth most expensive player of all time, a sign, perhaps of his decline as a footballer and a brand. Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Phillipe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have all cost more in the past two years, according to Sportingnews.com.
When looking at the signing of a 33-year-old footballer, it is imperative to look into the future as much as the past in trying to figure out exactly sensible the signing is. Cristiano Ronaldo’s achievements and trophies are as glittering like no other player in his era.
The question is then, how much value can Juventus extract from a 33-year-old footballer who is nearing the end of his career, both on and off the field. Juventus have won seven straight scudetti (Serie A league titles), and a host of coppa Italia cups and other assorted trinkets in the last seven seasons. However, in Europe, they have hit a brick Coppa Losing finalists in 2015 and 2017, the Champions League is the only major trophy that has evaded them in this golden era. Cristiano Ronaldo is seen as a key part to solving Juventus’ UEFA Champions League itch.
Cristiano Ronaldo also offers huge opportunities for Juventus on the commercial aspect of the game. Easily the sport’s most recognizable star, Juventus will hope to grow their digital and commercial footprint worldwide now that they have acquired his services, filling stadiums, selling merchandise and getting better sponsorship deals the likes of which Manchester United hover up on a regular basis. Juventus are ranked the tenth richest club in the world by Deloitte, way behind behemoths such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United. By signing Cristiano, Juventus hope to bridge that gap and become a superclub.
CR7 will keep earning a huge salary while competing for one of Europe’s biggest club sides and in a massive league. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to an arguably less popular league but one which is tactically as advanced as any other major leagues in Europe. I have no doubt that Cristiano can at least maintain a top 5 position in football for the foreseeable future, and Juventus are certainly assured of winning an eighth Serie A in a row with him in their ranks.
In a nutshell, this deal makes sense for everyone: for Juventus, for Cristiano, for Serie A, and even for Real Madrid who can now go ahead and buy a younger player with a longer career ahead of them, possibly Eden Hazard, Neymar or Kylian Mbappe. The question is for how long? Will Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract make as much sense in 2021 for Juventus as it does now? Only time will tell, but it is definitely going to be intriguing to follow.