Real Madrid lose their talisman, their alpha and omega, capable of scoring a goal per game last season. Juventus stretch their resources in an attempt to make a giant leap forward, abandoning the blueprint of organic growth that had guided them in the past seven seasons and, in a financial fair play world, rolling the dice that they won't have to dismantle the squad.
As for Ronaldo, his may be the biggest leap into the unknown. He is leaving arguably the biggest club in the world, a city where he is settled and a league where he is comfortable and dominant to go to Serie A, which as of right now is a step beneath La Liga. And before people call him greedy and wave Euro bills in his face, remember that based on the figures released, he will be earning no more (and possibly less when you consider endorsements, given that Real Madrid offer greater visibility) than he would have if he had signed the extension Madrid offered him last month.
At 33, Ronaldo is the age at which most professionals either squeeze another season or two at the highest possible level from their bodies or, if they can't do it anymore, downshift and make a "lifestyle" choice. Not here. He is coming off his umpteenth stellar campaign, and whatever else you may think of Serie A and Juventus, it is anything but a semi-retirement.
What prompted the move? Ronaldo's people have trotted out the old line about "not feeling loved" at the Bernabeu. The past two seasons, that has been met with cynicism and ridicule. No more, as he showed by walking away from three guaranteed years and $100 million.
Whatever Ronaldo feels -- rightly or wrongly -- is genuine. The impression is that the issue isn't so much with supporters or teammates but specifically with the club president, Florentino Perez. The trust isn't there, and to Ronaldo, it has manifested itself in a number of ways, from the fact that the club didn't do more to appeal his five-match ban earlier this year to the fact that some at the highest level have drawn up post-Zinedine Zidane rebuilding plans that do not involve Ronaldo.
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