Cristiano Ronaldo boarded a private plane out of Turin after saying his goodbyes to his Juventus team-mates as boss Max Allegri confirmed his imminent exit from the club.
The 36-year-old spent an hour and a half at Juve’s Continassa training ground on Friday morning to empty his locker and bid farewell to the squad before they took to the pitch for a training session.
Later on Friday, Allegri confirmed Ronaldo told him he has “no intention” to stay at the club and will not be called up for Saturday’s game against Empoli.
“Yesterday, speaking with Cristiano, he told me that he has no intention to stay at Juventus and for this reason, he will not be called up tomorrow [against Empoli] and he didn’t train this morning,” Allegri said.
“I’m absolutely not disappointed, because Cristiano took his own decision. He was here for three years, he gave his contribution, he put himself at Juventus’ disposal, and now he’s leaving and life goes on.
“Cristiano did a lot for this club, he’s a great champion, I wish him all the luck in the world wherever he will play. He gave a great contribution, for the season that I trained him he led by example for the lads, so he is only to be thanked for what he did for Juventus.”
Ronaldo arrived at Turin’s Caselle airport around 1.30pm and boarded a private jet for Lisbon, with his future set to be decided in the next few hours.
Meanwhile, Manchester City are no longer in talks to sign the 36-year-old after pulling out of talks on Friday and Manchester United are now the frontrunners to seal a remarkable move.
City were offered Ronaldo and considered a deal to sign him, as they were believed to be the player’s first choice.
However, while recognising his qualities as a player, there wasn’t a great deal of enthusiasm among the City board as he’s not the profile the club would normally go for.
Ronaldo is now looking elsewhere and Mendes is in talks with United over a deal that would see the Portugal captain return to the club.
Ronaldo is in the final year of his contract in Turin and the Italian giants are asking any suitor to pay a €25m (£21.3m) transfer fee, which could be a major stumbling block along with his £500,000-per-week wages at the Allianz Stadium.
Juventus are yet to receive an official bid and there is still some way to go before a deal can be concluded and time is tight to complete a deal before Tuesday’s transfer window deadline.
Ronaldo was a surprise omission from Juve’s starting 11 in their 2-2 draw at Udinese on Sunday and he came off the bench to score a 94th-minute winner which was ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside.
The 36-year-old wants to carry on playing at the highest level for as long as possible, but not everyone at City is convinced the former United player is what they need.
Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018 for a fee in the region of £105m and he has scored 101 goals in 134 games for the club, helping them to two Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia crown and two Italian Super Cups.
Juventus are in advanced talks to sign Moise Kean from Everton, who scored 17 goals in 41 games while on loan at Paris-Saint Germain last season.
‘Juve fans sad Ronaldo is leaving’
Sky in Italy’s Valentina Fass in Turin…
“We get the sense from supporters here that they are very sad that Ronaldo is leaving.
“From what we understand, Cristiano Ronaldo told Juventus last night that he no longer wants to play for the club and he already has cleared his locker.
“We don’t know exactly where Cristiano Ronaldo is at the moment because he left the training ground, he hasn’t gone home, we assumed he has gone to the airport but he’s not there yet.
“At the moment, what we understand is he is definitely not going to play for Juventus anymore, we have to understand whether he is just going to end the contract with Juventus or if he is going to go to Manchester City.
“We are supposing his agent Jorge Mendes is trying to help to find an agreement between the two clubs but we shouldn’t take for granted that he will go to Manchester City. Of course, that is the first option at the moment.”
Was Ronaldo a success at Juventus?
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith and Sky in Italy’s Valentina Fass…
Two league titles, one Coppa Italia and one Italian Super Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo collected plenty of silverware during his three full seasons at Juventus. And that’s before you count the two Serie A player of the year awards and a top scorer prize.
However, given the Italian side’s poor record in the Champions League over that period, in which they managed one quarter-final appearance and two exits at the round of 16 stage, was the €100m transfer fee and €31m-per-year wages worth it?
On the pitch, there can be few complaints about Ronaldo’s personal numbers. While 21 league goals in his first season was his lowest return since his days at Manchester United, he was still the club’s top scorer and responded with 60 goals across the next two campaigns, outscoring everyone else in Italy last year.
But given how his playing style has evolved, finding the right combination of players around him was essential for success in Europe but Massimiliano Allegri, Maurizio Sarri, and the inexperienced Andrea Pirlo were unable to find the answers.
The club’s fourth-place finish last season – albeit in the face of improved competition from Inter Milan – perhaps reflected a failure over recent years to reinforce the squad appropriately.
Ronaldo’s move to Juventus was about more than just football, though. There were $60m worth of shirt sales in the first 24 hours after his unveiling. Six million social media followers were added to Juve’s accounts.
Would Juventus have achieved the results they did without him? Quite possibly. There’s a good chance they’ll go on to win Serie A without him this season. But he boosted the Juventus brand across the globe significantly and in this modern era that is hugely valuable. The club will be counting the cost of their spending on him for some time to come but they’ll also be enjoying the rewards of the exposure he gave them.
Ronaldo drew people who had no affiliation with Juventus into stadiums. It has been reminiscent of the buzz Maradona created in Italian football in the past. And Juve supporters still adore him. They don’t want to see him go.
But it seems Ronaldo will be trading in his secluded, heavily-guarded and private villa in the Turin hills this summer. By all accounts he has enjoyed his Italian adventure and the challenges of Serie A and while he wasn’t able to inspire them to the ultimate prize, he has added more accolades to his trophy cabinet.
He doesn’t come cheap but his Juventus experience proves to the next club investing in him that Ronaldo, even at the age of 36, still brings goals, glamour and global media attention.
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