The soccer superstar is leaving Real Madrid to join Italy's Juventus

By Jason Duaine Hahn
July 10, 2018 02:14 PM

Even though he is no longer playing in the FIFA World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo is still making headlines.

On Tuesday, Ronaldo announced he is leaving Spain’s Real Madrid, his home of nine seasons, to play for Italy’s Juventus in a momentous $117 million deal, according to USA Today. The 33-year-old superstar from Portugal is signed on for a four-year contract that will net him about $36 million a season.

The move ends Ronaldo’s nearly decade-long tenure with Real Madrid, which started in 2008 when he was transferred from England’s Manchester United. It was with the Spanish club that he further cemented himself as one of the best soccer players of all time, becoming the team’s all-time leading goal scorer (451) and helping to lead them to multiple titles.

Credit: Dave Shopland/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

He also took home the Ballon D’Or award, given to the player considered the best in the world, a record five times. The only other player to win the award as much as Ronaldo is Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

Speculation that Ronaldo was leaving Real Madrid begun after the team beat Liverpool on May 26, when the footballer spoke about his time with the team in the past tense, noted ESPN.

Cristiano Ronaldo
| Credit: Stuart Franklin - FIFA/FIFA via Getty

“I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for this fan base and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received,” Ronaldo said in a letter to fans about the move. “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.”

“Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football,” Real Madrid said in a statement, according to CNN.

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Ronaldo’s now-former teammates, including Sergio Ramos, took to social media to send well-wishes to the departing player.

“[Cristiano], your goals, your numbers and everything we’ve won together speak for themselves. You have earned a special place in the history of @RealMadrid,” Ramos wrote on his Twitter account. “As Madridistas we’ll remember you always. It’s been a pleasure to play alongside you, bicho. Big hig and good luck!”

Sami Khedira, who was Ronaldo’s teammate on Real Madrid before joining Juventus, celebrated their upcoming reunion with a picture and message on Twitter.

“We had a great time together in Madrid, I can‘t wait to get back to work with you!” Khedira wrote. “Today is a special day for @juventusfc!”

Ronaldo will have some time off before lacing up his cleats with Juventus, as he and the Portugal national team were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup by Uruguay in the round of 16 on June 30.