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Cristiano Ronaldo leaving for Juventus doesn’t just mean the end of nine years of goals and glory with Real Madrid, but also the end of a classic rivalry

… And the day finally came. July 10th 2018. The day when Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo made it official: the player is being sold to Juventus FC for a reported fee of $137 million.

The deal has been handled in a surprisingly un-traumatic way by all parties involved. A quite fitting end, actually: in a win-win-win situation for everyone, professionalism prevailed over sentimentality and feelings. Anticlimactic, right? At least, that’s the best case scenario; under a closer look, someone would think that the farewell was as cold as a freezer.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid’s top brass lead by Florentino Pérez often butted heads over the past few seasons, usually with the player’s salary and/or his mood and feelings in the spotlight. But it wasn’t always like that: in fact, Pérez was the one who persisted in 2009 until Manchester United just gave up and sold the attacker for a then-record sum of $110 million.

In the nine years that Cristiano spent at Real Madrid, the records have piled up both for him and his club. 438 games, 451 goals scored (a whopping average of over a goal per game), four Champions League trophies. We aren’t exaggerating if we say that Real Madrid used to start winning 1-0 any single game when the Portuguese was on the pitch. He was as reliable as a German tank: fierce, unstoppable, striving for excellence.

The spectacular rivalry with Leo Messi speaks for itself. Ronaldo never sported the same levels of quality or skill, but more than made up for it by being tireless, a physical prodigy with a huge desire to improve and become the most lethal scoring machine that the football world ever saw.

That alone is an impressive feat on itself, but at the same time his scoring antics allowed his team to win international competitions and add gloss to his individual conquests. Four Ballon d’Or trophies during his stint with Los Blancos during the Messi era: would anyone have bet on that outcome?

With his departure, LaLiga loses one of its more iconic players and, at the same time, will need to find new angles and alternative promotional stunts to the old and rehashed ‘Messi vs Cristiano’ plot device. Leo’s reaction to his archnemesis leaving will also be fun to watch: will he keep being as ambitious as ever, or will he relax and comfortably coast in his last years as a Barça players?

The shocking development on Tuesday, although expected since Cristiano focused everything on himself after Real won their 13th Champions League last month, is ultimately good business for all involved. For starters, the player will get his desired salary bump to a cool $34 million per season. Juve will surely earn back most of the money spent via merchandising or revenue generated from European competitions. And watch out for Real: after recouping the investment made nine years ago and squeezing absolutely everything out of Cristiano, they now have the cash and the empty slot available to seek their new world class superstar.

With Neymar and Mbappe in their laser-sights… PSG should be slightly worried.

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