Cristiano Ronaldo explained his decision to leave Real Madrid and sign with Italian champions Juventus in an open letter to fans, posted on the Spanish club’s website not long after his move was announced on Tuesday.
The move marks the end of a nine-year spell at the Bernabeu where the reigning Ballon d’Or winner won two La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues, but as Ronaldo explained it, the time was right for a change.
Ronaldo’s statement in full: “These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Real Madrid have quite possibly be the happiest years of my life. I only have feelings of great gratitude to this club, to the fans and to the city. I can only give thanks to all of them for the love and affection that I have received.
“However, I feel that the time has come to begin a new stage of my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept my transfer. I feel it this way and I am asking everyone, and especially my fans, to please understand me.
“These have been nine of the most absolutely marvelous years. These have been nine unique years. This for me has been a very emotional time, full of deliberating, although difficult because Real Madrid is at a very demanding and high level but I know very well that I will never forget that here I have enjoyed football in a unique way.