It is hard to find a loser in the €100million deal which has taken Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid to Juventus.
Who would have thought when Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid for a then world-record fee of £80million from Manchester United, he would be sold for a profit nine years later as a 33-year-old?
Then again, Ronaldo has made a career of doing things most would have thought impossible.
The five-time Ballon D’or winner called time on his spell in the Spanish capital, requesting the reigning European champions to accept the offer from Juventus.
He leaves Madrid having scored more goals than games he played in, with four Champions League winners medals, two La Liga titles, and two Copa Del Rey triumphs and a host of individual records in his wake.
He bows out of Real as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer having found the back of the net a remarkable 450 times in just 438 games across all competitions.
His 309 La Liga goals make him the competition’s all-time top goalscorer, while he also ranks highest for assists with 85 league assists to his name.
He was the fastest player to reach 50 goals, 100 goals and 200 official goals.
The list goes on and on, but the time was right for Ronaldo to seek new pastures and Juventus makes perfect sense for his next destination.
The 2017-18 La Liga campaign proved that Ronaldo was not going to match Lionel Messi – his main rival for Ballon d’Or honours over the last eight years – over the course of a 38-game La Liga campaign for much longer.
Messi, two years younger than his rival, proved the dominant force last season as he inspired Barcelona to another league title.
Ronaldo’s Champions League form, which helped Madrid to an unprecedented third-straight triumph, glossed over the fact that the Portuguese forward finished some eight goals behind Messi, who also managed to more than double Ronaldo’s assist count in the league.
Barcelona won the league title at a canter, as Ronaldo’s Madrid finished 17 points behind in third place.
With Zinedine Zidane bowing out as Real Madrid coach following last season’s Champions League triumph, the air of change was thick at the Bernabeu, and perhaps Ronaldo sensed there would never be a better time to leave than on the highest of highs.
For Madrid, there would surely never be a more opportune time to cash in on their most prized asset.
Sure, Real president, Florentino Perez would probably have preferred to keep the man he went to untold lengths to bring to the club back in 2008, but with Ronaldo eying the exit, he can at least be satisfied to have turned a profit on the ageing superstar.
For both Real and Ronaldo, Juventus proved the perfect suitors.
One of few clubs in world football both ready and willing to match Real’s valuation, as well as living up to Ronaldo’s expectations of competing year in, year out for domestic and European honours.
Ronaldo has seen Juventus up close and personal a number of times over the last few seasons in the Champions League.
He scored a miraculous bicycle kick to help knock the Italian giants out in this season’s Champions League, after which the Turin faithful greeted with a standing ovation for their rival.
Perhaps at that moment, Ronaldo became enamoured with the Juventus faithful and the prospect of playing for one of the football’s most storied and historic clubs.
The Old Lady’s willingness to offer a four-year deal worth around €120million also helped.
Juventus will easily be able to write off a fair chunk of Ronaldo’s transfer fee and wages with the superstar’s immense marketability off the field as well as his prowess on the field.
Under Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus has won seven straight Serie A titles and with Ronaldo joining an already impressive line-up, he will hope to make it eight, nine or maybe even 10 in a row over the years to come.
That suits Ronaldo just fine.
With a La Liga title looking less and less likely at the Bernabeu after a hit-and-miss La Liga campaign, Ronaldo will welcome the chance to continue picking up domestic honours in Italy, a factor which will surely not hurt his chances of a sixth (or seventh, should he win the 2018 edition) Ballon d’Or.
Domestic success in Italy would make it three conquered countries for Ronaldo, following on from his success in England and Spain.
Even the likes of Milan, Internazionale and Napoli may be quietly pleased with the superstar’s arrival in Italy.
The transfer will have done nothing to help their chances of wrestling the crown from Juventus, but with the Serie A TV rights for the next three years still up for grabs, Ronaldo’s arrival may just be the shot in the arm the competition needs to restore its worldwide audience.
While Juventus would have entered the new season as domestic favourites with or without Ronaldo, it is in Europe that it will hope Ronaldo can make the biggest impact.
The man who has so often foiled Juventus’ quest for just a third European triumph is now on their side.
If nothing else, signing him means he will no longer to breach Juventus’ stellar defence, as he has done with such alarming frequency in recent seasons.
Should Ronaldo succeed in leading Juventus to European glory in his mid-30s, it would perhaps cap off a one-of-a-kind career.