With the attention of global soccer firmly focused on the World Cup semifinals in Russia, Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday dragged some of the limelight back on himself. Ronaldo, one of the greatest players in soccer history, announced that he would move to Italian giant Juventus after nine years at Real Madrid.
The move was confirmed in a statement by Real less than three hours before the first semifinal match was due to kick off in Saint Petersburg.
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“Real Madrid would like to express its gratitude to a player who proved himself to be the best in the world and who marked one of the most brilliant eras in the history of our club,” the team wrote in Spanish.
Ronaldo had hinted his time in Spain might be over as early as the Champions League final in May, where he lifted the trophy for a third time in four years. His relationship with the Real brass had soured in recent months amid tense negotiations over a contract renewal. But with the player turning 34 next February and some of his physical qualities diminishing, the club was reluctant to commit tens of millions of dollars to him for years to come. The transfer will cost Juventus €100 million ($117 million).
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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