Cristiano Ronaldo thanks Real Madrid in an open letter
Cristiano Ronaldo in an open letter thanks Real Madrid and its fans; says need for fresh challenge made him join Italian giants Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo is determined to write another chapter in his illustrious career after joining Juventus in a 112 million euro deal (£99.2 million) from Real Madrid. Portugal forward Ronaldo, 33, agreed a four-year contract with the Serie A champions in one of the most dramatic moves in European football, which was confirmed on Tuesday. Ronaldo scored a record 451 goals over nine years at the Bernabeu, having signed from Manchester United and helping deliver four Champions League triumphs.
However, as the Spanish giants prepare for life under new head coach Julen Lopetegui, Ronaldo felt the time was right to move on. In an open letter posted on Real Madrid's website, Ronaldo pleaded with fans to understand his decision. "These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Madrid have been the happiest of my life," he said. "I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for these fans 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." Juventus revealed in a statement that they would pay 100 million euros to Madrid across the period of two financial years. Ronaldo, whose transfer from United in 2009 was for a then world-record fee of £80 million, also paid tribute to Madrid.
"Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you," the Portugal international said. "Thanks to the club, the president, the directors, my colleagues, all the technicians, doctors, physios and incredible workers. They make everything work and they are tirelessly watching every detail. "Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish football. I have reflected a lot and I know that the time has come for a new cycle. I'm leaving, but this shirt, this badge and the Santiago Bernabeu will continue to feel as my own wherever I am."
Sergio Ramos @SergioRamos:
Ronaldo, your goals, your numbers and everything we've won together speak for themselves. You have earned a special place in the history of Real Madrid. As Madridistas we'll remember you always. It's been a pleasure to play alongside you, bicho. Big hig and good luck!"
Gareth Bale @GarethBale11:
An incredible player and a top guy! It has been a pleasure to play alongside you for the last 5 years. Good luck for the future My friend.
Toni Kroos @ToniKroos:
Crucial for the trophies we won in the past years! A true champion. It was a pleasure playing with you! All the best, legend. Cristiano
Sami Khedira @SamiKhedira:
Welcome to Turin, Cristiano. We had a great time together in Madrid, I can't wait to get back to work with you! Today is a special day for Juventus.
Marco Asensio @marcoasensio10:
It has been a pleasure to play by your side, you have been an example in every way. I wish you good luck in your new stage.
Iker Casillas @IkerCasillas:
Goodbyes hurt, and more when it comes to a player like you. Thank you for what you did for a club that you made it bigger than it already was! Congratulate you on your commitment to be the best and go for it! Good luck, in your new walk, Cristiano!
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