Report: Cristiano Ronaldo Wanted Napoli Transfer; Club Would've Faced Bankruptcy

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 15, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool on May 26, 2018 at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo's reported preference was to join Napoli ahead of Juventus this summer, but president of the Naples giants, Aurelio De Laurentiis, has said the move would have "risked pushing the club towards bankruptcy."

Football Italia referred to Corriere dello Sport and Carlo Alvino, a reporter close to Napoli, who said the huge figures involved meant a deal could not be done. De Laurentiis later spoke to La Repubblica (h/t Football Italia) and confirmed the cost of the move made it impossible:

"Ronaldo was offered to Napoli. [Jorge] Mendes, his agent, telephoned me.

"We planned to make an offer, and we would have paid CR7 with a percentage of the funds guaranteed by his arrival.

"The €350 million [wages included] that Juventus will invest is beyond our reach. We would have risked pushing the club towards bankruptcy."

The Guardian's Fabrizio Romano explored the total cost of Ronaldo's transfer to Turin. On top of his €100 million (£88.3 million) transfer fee, Juve will pay their new star a salary of £500,000 per week—€30 million (£26.5 million) per annum—on a four-year contract. However, clubs in Italy must pay the same amount in tax, taking the total cost to €340 million (£300.6 million).

Napoli have long been less financially equipped compared to rivals Juve, and Bleacher Report's Alex McGovern recently provided some context as to how the Bianconeri have been able to make a deal work:

Alex McGovern @AlexMcGovern11

Portuguese newspaper says FIAT will sign a sponsorship deal with Ronaldo to help top up his wages to the €30M/year he wants, which Juventus can't afford to pay entirely themselves due to FFP. The Agnelli family who own Juventus also own FIAT... That sounds really dodgy. https://t.co/wvgwTXZjf3

Even at 33 years of age, the arrival of Ronaldo promises to boost Juve's prospects on the field and will naturally result in a financial windfall because of the merchandising opportunities created.

It would have been implausible for Napoli to structure a deal with the same ease that Juve—supported by the Agnelli family—were able to. Italian football writer Adam Digby joked about the efforts they would have gone to in order to get a deal over the line:

Adam Digby @Adz77

Can you imagine Ronaldo’s face when De Laurentiis tells him he’d have to surrender his image rights & be in the Napoli Christmas calendar? Now that I’d pay to see! https://t.co/p3GQkTyhDR

A move to the Stadio San Paolo would have seen Ronaldo link back up with former Real manager Carlo Ancelotti, with whom he won the club's 10th European Cup—La Decima—back in 2014.

It's a difficult way for Ancelotti to begin his reign at Napoli, facing a foe whose quality he knows all too well, especially after discovering it might have been his club who snagged his services. However, the Italian remained up for the fight, via OmniSport:

Omnisport @OmnisportNews

#Juve only got stronger with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo... But #Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti still believes in his team's chances in #SerieA. https://t.co/Y2TY53OXyV

Per Football Italia, Ronaldo even phoned Ancelotti for advice on how best to make the transition to Italian football, but the Napoli chief won't have wanted to aid his old charge too much ahead of their fight for the Scudetto.

He could have followed Napoli legend Diego Maradona in bringing more superstar quality to the club's list of alumni, but money talks in football, and Juventus' wallet spoke volumes.