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Spanish La Liga

Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus: open letter for Real Madrid fans explains shock transfer

In an open letter to Real Madrid supporters, Cristiano Ronaldo reveals his reasons for ending a glorious nine-year spell at the Bernabeu

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 1:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 2:20pm

It came as a shock to most, but Cristiano Ronaldo has written an open letter to Real Madrid fans explaining his decision to leave the club.

The 33-year-old is joining Juventus for a reported fee of €105 million (US$106.27 million) after nine trophy-laden years in Spain where he scored 450 goals in 438 games.

“These years in Real Madrid, and in this city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life,” Ronaldo wrote in a statement on the club’s official website.

“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.”

After leaving Manchester United for a then-world record transfer fee of £80 million (US$106.08 million), Ronaldo helped Madrid claim four Champions League titles during his time at the Bernabeu, taking the La Liga giants’ tally of European cups to 13.

He also won two La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, two Spanish Super Cups, two Uefa Super Cups, and three Club World Cups, as well as claiming another four Ballon d’Ors to take his personal haul to five.

“They have been absolutely wonderful for nine years,” Ronaldo added. “They have been nine unique years.

Cristiano Ronaldo joins Juventus from Real Madrid for reported €105 million fee on four-year deal

“It has been an exciting time for me, full of consideration but also hard because Real Madrid is of a very high demand, but I know very well that I will never forget that I have enjoyed football here in a unique way.

“I have had fabulous teammates in the field and in the dressing room, I have felt the warmth of an incredible crowd … all during my time in this immense and extraordinary club.”

Ronaldo agreed a reported £500,000-a-week (US$663,000) deal with Juventus club president Andrea Agnelli on Tuesday in a hotel in Greece, where he is on holiday with his girlfriend and family after Portugal’s elimination from the World Cup.

The transfer was later confirmed by Madrid, who thanked Ronaldo for his incredible service to the club.

“Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you: thanks to 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,” Ronaldo wrote.

Ronaldo racked up a record tally of 17 goals for a Champions League season with Madrid in 2013-14, when the club finally won “La Decima” after a 12-year wait for their 10th European Cup.

He scored an astonishing 44 hat-tricks for Los Blancos, including a club-record 34 in La Liga, with his most prolific season coming in 2014-15 when he scored 61 goals in all competitions.

“Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish football,” Ronaldo added. “During these nine exciting years I have had great players in front of me. My respect and my recognition for all of them.

“I have reflected a lot and I know that the time has come for a new cycle. I’m leaving but this shirt, this shield and the Santiago Bernabeu will continue to always feel as my own wherever I am.

“Thanks to all and, of course, as I said that first time in our stadium nine years ago: Hala Madrid!”