The biggest news of this summer’s transfer window, and maybe of the last decade, is Cristiano Ronaldo hanging up his Real Madrid whites in favor of Juventus’ zebra stripes. Yep CR7, the 4x Champions League Winner has requested and completed a transfer to Italian club Juventus. Following Real Madrid’s third straight CL title there were rumblings about Ronaldo’s future at Real Madrid but everyone including myself thought it was just a ploy for Ronaldo to get a new contract and get paid on the level of Messi and Neymar. Soon there after rumors leaked that Ronaldo to Juventus was gaining traction, no one believed it at first but reliable source after reliable source confirmed the rumors and then all of a sudden the news was official. The transfer was set at €112 million or 130 million US dollars, with Ronaldo signing a 4 year deal. It’s the highest transfer fee for a player over 30 years old and the highest transfer fee in Italian football history.
Ronaldo has won titles in England and Spain and now will attempt to do so in Italy with their biggest clubs. The Bianconeri finished at the top of the Serie A table last season, 9 points clear of second place Napoli. Juventus have twice finished as runners-up to the Champions League title in the past five years, the addition of Ronaldo will surely put them in contention for hoisting the trophy in 2019. Ronaldo joins a team loaded with talent: Dybala, Pjanic, Sandro, Costa, Chiellini and Higuain. In order to avoid Financial Fair Play violations Juventus will likely need to move some pieces, Higuain and Rugani have been both linked to moves to Chelsea, but Juventus will be favorites to win their league and move deep into European competition.
Real Madrid is one of the most storied clubs in all of European soccer, I have to believe Ronaldo will be on their Mount Rushmore of best players. In the decade or so he spent at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo scored 311 goals in 292 appearances, a truly staggering number. He won the Spanish La Liga title twice, the Champions League four times, the Spanish Cup twice and individually is a 5x winner of the Ballon d’Or (the worlds best player).
The question that now looms is what will Real Madrid do to back-fill Cristiano Ronaldo? They have a freshly minted 100 million in their account to spend in any number of directions. Real have roster decisions to make when it comes to Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema but their short list of goal scoring choices I’m sure includes Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard. The latter I’m afraid is the most likely scenario with Hazard already going on record that Real Madrid is the destination he prefers and moving on from Chelsea is something he would accept. Madrid have been rumored to make a double swoop for Hazard and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and I can only hope these rumors are sensationalized even though my gut is telling me there’s a good amount of truth behind these reports.
Chelsea have a new manager in Maurizio Sarri now that Antonio Conte has been officially dismissed so how this plays out will take some time. We’ve yet to hear Sarri’s opinion on either Hazard or Courtois and visa-versa their thoughts on him. Sarri is known for a wide open, attacking style of play one in which I think Eden Hazard would thrive. I hope for Chelsea’s sake we retain Hazard at the minimum. Courtois I’d be less inclined to have stay even with replacement options being slim and extremely expensive. For context, Liverpool’s signing of Allison from AS Roma cost the club £67 million for the 25 year old. Courtois only has a year left on his deal so the amount they’d get is probably half that amount, Courtois has said on many occasions his preference is to go back to Spain to be closer to his family so it might be best to get a return now then let him walk away for free.
Now that the World Cup is completed and teams beginning their training camps, the rumors will only intensify. We’ve seen big names switch shirts already the biggest being:
- Gianluigi Buffon leaving Juventus after a lifetime at the club for a new start at Paris St. Germain
- Riyad Mahrez completing his year long effort to join Manchester City. The rich get richer…
- Chelsea stole Napoli midfielder Jorginho from City as Sarri recruited him from under their nose
- Andres Iniesta similar to Buffon is leaving his life long club in FC Barcelona for a move to Japan at Vissel Kobe
- Fernando Torres also makes a move to Japan with Sagan Tosu
- Liverpool keep spending acquiring Xherdan Shaqiri and Allison in their most recent signings
- Fulham won a surprise bid for OG Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri
- West Ham mean business having signed the likes of Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmalenko and Anderson