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Cristiano Ronaldo will retire after seeing out the three-year contract he’s signed at Juventus following his £100 million move from Real Madrid, according to his agent Jorge Mendes.
Mendes has overseen Ronaldo’s star-studded move through Lisbon, Manchester and Madrid, and the Portuguese told Sport (h/t MailOnline’s Robert Summerscales) the tenure in Turin will be his client’s last:
“I’m very happy for Cristiano. Juventus will be his last club, and I’m glad he made this decision. With this team he’ll close out his marvellous career.
“I thank (Juventus president) Andrea Agnelli in particular for his determination and his willingness to negotiate with Real Madrid.
“And I also thank (Juventus general manager) Beppe Marotta for his professionalism.”
After Sporting CP, Manchester United and Real, Juventus will become the fourth—and seemingly final—club of Ronaldo’s glittering senior career, giving him three more seasons to complete an already heaving trophy cabinet.
A return to Old Trafford was mooted as a possibility for Ronaldo, but Spanish journalist Guillem Balague elaborated on why the Portuguese signed for the Bianconeri, via BBC 5 live Sport:
BBC 5 live Sport @5liveSport
“Jorge Mendes rang #MUFC and #PSG (about Ronaldo) and they said ‘no'” ⛔
@GuillemBalague says Cristiano Ronaldo swapped #RealMadrid for Juventus because he wanted a better ‘relationship with his boss’. https://t.co/wyEdLNT5nn
Juventus have won the last seven Serie A titles in succession and can only bank on advancing their control over the league in the years to come now that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is one of their own.
At 33 years of age, there are concerns Ronaldo’s powers are bound to wane in the coming years, although Italian football writer Adam Digby suggested that shouldn’t be an issue:
Adam Digby @Adz77
So far the top answers are:
1) “Ronaldo can’t run” or variations of it citing his age
3) “Because he loves Juve, obvs”
I can’t decide which of those is the least believable!
It’s true that Ronaldo’s numbers are still otherwordly—he scored 42 goals last season, two more than he managed in the 2016-17 campaign. But the decline is noticeable after he netted at least 51 times in each of the six seasons prior to that.
Nevertheless, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri can look forward to managing a player who promises to dominate Serie A upon his arrival and is set to become the face of the division.
Broadcaster Colin Cowherd compared Ronaldo’s move to Juventus with 33-year-old LeBron James’ second Cleveland Cavaliers departure, this time for the Los Angeles Lakers:
Herd w/Colin Cowherd @TheHerd
The similarities of LeBron joining the Lakers and Cristiano Ronaldo joining Juventus are undeniable
@ColinCowherd explains https://t.co/OTxi7n80aY
It’s in Ronaldo’s nature to demand a high level of success even into the tail end of his career. Therefore a pension-boosting swan song in Major League Soccer or following some veterans to the lucrative climes of China always seemed less likely in his case.
Instead, Mendes suggested Ronaldo will seek to compete on Europe’s biggest stages until the last days of his career, and it’s Juve who will have the pleasure of seeing that play out in their favour.