The oddest of transfers happened just as the World Cup was coming to a close. Cristiano Ronaldo, the talismanic striker of Real Madrid was sold to Juventus of Turin for €117m. It’s not lost on anyone that the Serie A has been a league in decline and constantly dominated by one club - Juventus has one the last 7 Scudettos! Italy’s economy is one of the poorest in Europe with debts around €2.3trillion yet one of the most lethal strikers in the world decided to join the turmoil.
Upon arrival at the Italian giants, the 33 year old stated, "Players of my age go to China or Qatar so coming to such an important club at this stage in my career makes me very happy."
The above statement is either a credit to the calibre of Ronaldo’s ability at the football mature age of 33 or a damning verdict that the Serie A is morphing into a retirement league not unlike China and Qatar. Ronaldo is a fierce competitor with a palatable arrogance and once the opportunity arose to go to the Serie A his genetic nature, including mindset, made the decision for him. I think a lot of players that go from one of the top leagues in Europe to the MLS or China take a hit to their ego as its taking two steps back without the intention of any forward. I don’t believe Ronaldo’s persona could handle such a rapid decent.
The verdict is still out on this transfer as the key performance indicator from a footballing perspective is Champions League glory, something that funnily enough, seems further away than ever for the Italian giants. The handover of the baton from Messi and Ronaldo to the future happened at the World Cup. The holders are now Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Antoine Greizmann, Paul Pogba et al. None ply their trade in Italy and the former is destined to replace Ronaldo as the next Galactico at Real Madrid.
My opinion is that this move is a step backward for Italian football and Juventus. It’s not to discredit Ronaldo as he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game but football is progressive and the giants of world football enchant the current and future stars of the game, not fading forces who once were.
Only time will tell ….