What Cristiano Ronaldo's Signing Means to Fans of Juventus

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistJuly 11, 2018

Fans get their hands on new Ronaldo shirts
Fans get their hands on new Ronaldo shirtsISABELLA BONOTTO/Getty Images

A week ago it was just a rumour, but now it is a reality; Cristiano Ronaldo is a Juventus player.

Even now it seems an odd sentence to write and an even stranger one to say out loud, yet it remains true.

Indeed, the statement issued by the Italian club revealed they will pay €100 million over the next two years, with a further €12 million added to cover FIFA's solidarity contribution regulations.

That second fee will be split between Real Madrid and Ronaldo's former club Manchester United for developing the player, while the man himself has signed a four-year contract. Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio believes the deal will pay the 33-year-old around €30 million per season after tax.

Tarek Khatib @ADP1113

Tuttosport had Cristiano Ronaldo on their cover page for 11 consecutive days! https://t.co/PIawhUJiME

Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport has emblazoned Ronaldo's picture across its front page for the past 11 days, while the player's agent spoke of his pleasure at finally seeing the deal completed.

"We want to express our absolute satisfaction and happiness for Cristiano and his decision to join Juventus," Jorge Mendes said in a Gestifute statement (h/t Football Italia). "Cristiano is very happy to be able to play for one of the most important clubs in the world."

Yet while both his representative and Ronaldo seem content with their new environment, what of those who were already in Turin and the regular visitors to the Allianz Stadium? What did they make of the story when they first heard it and how do they feel now the Portuguese megastar is set to wear the famous black and white stripes?

"Oh, that's easy," Jean-Francois Scarfo—a Juventus fan from Sicily—said when Bleacher Report asked him about his initial reaction to the story. "I thought Mendes was playing games to get Ronaldo his annual pay rise. It came just after we signed Joao Cancelo [another Jorge Mendes client] too, so I thought he was using it to make people believe he talked to Juve, but that must have actually been true!"

"I thought it was just another story. You know we've heard them before about Lionel Messi, Neymar; they always seem made up," adds Andrea, a season-ticket holder on the Curva Sud at the Allianz Stadium. "But this time it's real and I still can't believe it, I don't understand how they did it and now I just can't wait for the matches to start!"

The question of how Juventuswho have deliberately planned their every move and improved their squad by meticulous attention to detaildecided to suddenly take this giant step forward is one many are still struggling to answer.

Cristiano Ronaldo @TeamRonaldo

Cristiano celebrating with Juventus President😔 https://t.co/2j0ixKFukx

"It's unbelievable," said Romeo Agresti, the Turin-based Juventus correspondent for Goal and a regular contributor to the club's in-house broadcast network, when asked by B/R. "I really don't know how it has happened, but I think that Juventus have improved a lot in recent seasons from a financial standpoint. So, maybe, after building carefully year by year, now anything is possible, especially buying important players like Cristiano."

However, David Amoyal, the managing editor of transfer expert Di Marzio's English language website, believes the Bianconeri have been working towards such a move for quite some time.

"Juventus leveraged their relationships to pull off the transfer of the summer," he told B/R. "They developed a rapport with Jorge Mendes during the negotiation for Joao Cancelo, and then had the super-agent handle the talks with Real Madrid to make Ronaldo available at a price they could afford. They have also had a long-standing relationship with Real Madrid dating back to the 1990s, so Los Blancos were likely much more willing to see their icon join a club they never saw as a competitor, but rather an ally.

"The Bianconeri were also very conservative for years on the transfer market and never overextended themselves," Amoyal continued. "It was a gradual process that saw increased revenues along the way, and that put them in position to afford this transfer. It also helped that they were very successful, making themselves attractive as a destination to CR7."

B/R Football @brfootball

BREAKING: Real Madrid confirm that Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to join Juventus https://t.co/ZSTNFddnJv

While that is undoubtedly true, Tom Kundert of PortuGoal.net—a website dedicated to Portuguese football—believes the personal challenge presented by the move will be just as important to Ronaldo.

"Why Juve? Well, it's a move that suits all parties, it seems," he told B/R. "Real Madrid are looking to rebuild and there were obvious tensions there, while Juventus want to win the Champions League after several near-misses, and he could get them over the line. For Ronaldo, it is a chance to further embellish his legacy and definitively get him into the argument over who is the greatest-ever player."

It's a tall order, but the 33-year-old can expect a warm welcome on his arrival in Turin. Fans are already queuing up to buy his shirt at the club shop in the city centre and happy to express their delight at the Funchal native's arrival.

"Everyone is going crazy!" Ultra leader Marchino declared, clearly delighted at the news but with reservations over how the deal could affect hardcore supporters, with the stadium now likely to attract those who only want to watch Ronaldo.

"Undoubtedly it is an extraordinary moment for all the fans, and at times it is difficult to believe that it's really happening. To go from Serie B to winning seven Scudetti and now buying the best player in the world just 12 years later is really crazy.

"However, the fact remains that we ultras make more than 30 trips and travel thousands of kilometres a season, with or without Ronaldo, because we love Juve," he continued. "We love the shirt and defend its colours against everyone. We simply demand respect and want to not be treated merely as customers of a soccer stadium."

'La joya' 🇭🇷🇫🇷 @e_natunas

Ronaldo on receiving a standing ovation by Juve fans https://t.co/8eRqyOSVgc

Another season-ticket holder, Paolo, spoke of his joy at the move. "Twelve years ago we were relegated for what everyone says was 'match-fixing,'" he tells B/R, referring to the Calciopoli scandal that saw Juve banished from the top flight in 2006. "Now we've signed the best player in the world. It's an incredible rise, and I hope it means we can finally win the Champions League, because it's been too long for us!"

Even supporters elsewhere seem to see the positive side of things while admitting Serie A's other title hopefuls face a much more difficult task.

"We all think this is very good for Italian football, and it's certainly good for the competition, both in terms of marketing to foreign fans and especially those who go to the stadium every week, because we get to see Ronaldo," Fabio Bonetti, a Fiorentina season-ticket holder on the Curva Fiesole, told B/R. "But Juve have now become too much strong for the other teamswhich is not a problem for Fiorentina right nowbut other fans, particularly those from Inter and Napoli, will definitely be worried."

Just like that, the view of the entire league has been altered. A week ago it was just a rumour, but now it is a reality.