Ronaldo felt the club should have released a statement supporting him. It did not. Whatever the reason, his departure draws to a close a glorious era in Real’s history. Ronaldo has precipitated a period of dominance in the Champions League long thought impossible in the modern game: No team had retained the trophy since 1990; none had won it three years in a row since 1976. He has scored more goals than anyone else in Real’s history, and more than anyone else in Champions League history. That he has only won two Spanish titles in nine years will matter little: This is a club that has always gauged itself, and its stars, by its success in Europe. It is that reputation, as the ultimate Champions League player, which has made him so attractive to his new employer. Andrea Agnelli, the president of Juventus, is desperate to complete his restoration of the club that has been in his family for generations by finally winning a third European Cup. Twice, he has come close: Juventus was runner-up to Barcelona in 2015, and to Ronaldo’s Madrid in 2017. He sees the Portuguese star as close to a guarantee of taking that final step. It has come at a considerable cost: As well as the $110 million fee, Ronaldo has agreed to a deal worth $35 million a year, over four years.
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