Cristiano Ronaldo has said a shift in his relationship with the Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, convinced him to call time on his glittering nine-year spell at the club.
Ronaldo, who joined Juventus for around €100m in July, left Spain as Real’s all-time leading goal scorer. The club claimed the transfer had been instigated “at the will and the request of the player”.
“I felt it inside the club, especially from the president, that they no longer considered me the same way that they did in the start,” he said. “In the first four or five years there I had the feeling of being ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. Less afterwards. The president looked at me through eyes that did not want to say the same thing, as if I was no longer indispensable to them, if you know what I mean.
“That’s what made me think about leaving. Sometimes I’d look at the news, where they were saying I was asking to leave. There was a bit of that but the truth is I always had the impression the president would not hold me back. If it had all been about money, I’d have moved to China, where I would have earned five times as much than here [at Juventus] or at Real. I did not come to Juve for the money. I earned the same in Madrid, if not more. The difference is that, at Juve, they really wanted me. They told me that and made it clear.” They showed me that.
“The truth is that the president wanted me but, at the same time, he made it known to me that my departure would not constitute a problem.
Asked whether the decision of the manager, Zinedine Zidane, to leave after overseeing a third successive European Cup win had influenced his move, Ronaldo said: “My decision to leave was not based on his departure. That being the case, it’s one of those little things that made me feel a bit better in terms of what I thought of the situation at the club.”
The 33-year-old, who scored 44 goals for Real last season and has seven for Juventus, is aiming to win the Ballon d’Or for a third year in a row. “I think I deserve it this year … Yes, I dream of winning the Ballon d’Or for the sixth time and passing, in this case, Lionel Messi.”