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Why did Ronaldo leave Real Madrid?

Ronaldo left Real Madrid after 9 years, but why did he leave? — by Tony Elotu
Ronaldo left Real Madrid after 9 years, but why did he leave? — by Tony Elotu

Why Ronaldo left Real Madrid?

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has been caught out at his own game and he made a major blunder with the treatment of superstar player Cristiano Ronaldo. On Monday 16th July 2018 he was presented to Juventus fans and the player said “it had been decided a long time ago”, meaning his exit had been planned.

Though he still recognized that even after he had made his declaration minutes following the Champions League final - “it was beautiful to be at Real Madrid” - he was still uncertain at that point about his future. His decision to join Juventus was a “simple one”, according to the 33-year-old Portugal international. He said that he was looking forward to showing the Italians what he can do and that he is determined to make it with Juventus.

Its a great move for Juventus but a very poor ending to the show for Real Madrid President Florentino Perez. What really happened is that Ronaldo was being left hanging since winning the Champions League the previous season in 2017.

Then, Perez promised to give Ronaldo a raise to match his performances with the club, they lifted 5 of 6 possible trophies that calendar year, only missing out on the Spanish Cup. Ronaldo had been the best player and was rightly rewarded with his 5th Ballon d’Or.

Things turned cold between Ronaldo and Perez

However, a few months later, things changed drastically. After winning the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona in the summer 2017, the departure of Neymar to PSG got Perez thinking, especially after word of the Brazilian being unhappy in the French Capital started hitting headlines. Perez, who could never have signed him directly from Barcelona, got into the frame and secretly started preparing the way to bring the Brazilian to the club and started neglecting Ronaldo.

Real’s and especially Ronaldo’s poor start to last season 2017-2018 helped to bolster the case that Perez and Real needed a new Galactico, a new superstar, and they did not grant Ronaldo his raise but instead began to focus their attention - and even bigger paycheck - on Neymar.

The tipping point may have also been the bitter 0-3 defeat at home to Barcelona just before Christmas. That was the time that Ronaldo had been promised to receive his bonuses and new deal, but Perez gave nothing. But things turned cold fast and just after the new year the relationship completely collapsed and the two could not see eye to eye. Spanish press tore Real apart, including Zidane, Ronaldo and Perez as well. Perez could not see any other option than to search for a plan B. It is very understandable.

Remember all these events flourished between December to February when Real were knocked out of the Spanish Cup by lowly Leganes. Another humiliation for the club following the thrashing by bitter rivals Barça. A new wave of criticism from the Spanish press put more pressure on a desperate Perez to act and with alarm bells ringing in the four quarters of the Bernabeu, he started putting the blame on Ronaldo, somewhat indirectly.

And seeing that his team were too far to catch Barcelona who were coasting for the league title with formidable style and panache - sometimes 11 to 14 points ahead of their rivals at the time - he activated the Neymar plan.

So Perez, being so desperate to sign the next superstar started undermining Ronaldo and was said to be lining up a major package to sign Neymar this summer. That’s what really sealed it for Ronaldo and Madrid.

Ronaldo felt insulted. He felt bitterly betrayed. He could not stand the sight of Perez.

After all he had brought for the club, he felt it was a great injustice – especially as he has been so loyal to the club and fans for almost 9 years – and having seen Messi treated with such respect at Barcelona, he had made his decision to leave the club. For Ronaldo it was like a dagger in the back.

Also, they even refused to help with his late taxes case. No raise, thus no acknowledgment for his achievements while a hefty package was being prepared for Neymar. As we mentioned he was still uncertain as to where he would go, with or without the 2018 Champions League crown but his mind was made up. Enough was enough. Ok, Ciao amigos!

Perez was too eager for Neymar as Real struggled to cope in La Liga at the start of this year.
Perez was too eager for Neymar as Real struggled to cope in La Liga at the start of this year.

Just a month ago they did eventually offer Ronaldo an improved deal but that was too little too late. Ronaldo had already made up his mind.

But is Perez really that off with his reasoning and has that cost Real Madrid their best player? Yes certainly. Firstly because the transfer market has become extremely difficult compared to when he signed Ronaldo or Bale.

Second, because he is so obsessed with signing the next most expensive player or superstar that he has blinded himself to the reality that Ronaldo is the best player in a Madrid shirt for yonks and not even Neymar can replace him at this point, even at 33-years-old.

Ronaldo still has the pace, the goal scoring ability and the fear factor. Juventus are clear winners in this deal, 120%. Ronaldo will still be the boss in the Champions League for the next two seasons, thus being one of its top scorers with Juventus.

And a more pragmatic Perez would realize that his best option was to keep Ronaldo and beef up his midfield until serious and credible options come along down the road. You could argue that it may be a good time to let him go because he is 33-years-old and Real have to look for other younger players.

Ok, but in reality Ronaldo is still at his peak, and has no equal in the Champions League, and deep deep down both Real and Perez really wanted to keep Ronaldo, especially after Zidane left the club 5 days after winning the Champions League and leaving Euro 24 million on the table. Strange things are happening in Real’s board room. Maybe simply a clash of ego’s.

Zidane and Ronaldo put added pressure on Real President Perez (right). Ronaldo wanted his new deal while Perez wanted to bring Neymar urgently, though Zidane wanted Hazard badly.

Opinion: Why Perez blew it:

He wanted to keep Ronaldo, but he did not give him the raise at the time he had promised so he lost Ronaldo; then the players he wants will be extremely hard to get this summer, Neymar, Kane or even Eden Hazard. Real's main target is now Hazard and they have made a bid for the midfielder. However, new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri wants to keep Hazard at the club and he is also a target for Barcelona. So Perez might end up with nothing. No Ronaldo, no new galactico or superstar.

Ok Perez was brilliant when he signed Ronaldo, then Bale. That was very good as both really wanted to play for Real Madrid and brought so much for Real since their arrival. However, let us remember that before winning La Decima, their 10th Champions League title in 2014, Real had waited 12 years since Zidane, the player, lifted the title for them in 2002.

This is what we are concerned with at this point. Real will remain competitive, but without Ronaldo they lose the formidable scoring rate of 50 goals a season and especially the fear factor associated with one of the best players in the world.

Real will survive but we do not see them winning the Champions League again in the next two or three season’s without Ronaldo. He scored 120 goals in his favourite competition and delivered 15 last season to again win the top scorer award. He is the only player to score 10 or more goals in the last 7 seasons in the Champions League. Messi is second with 100 goals in the Champions League. Neymar, Hazard, Kane are way behind.

Ronaldo scores against his new club Juventus in the Champions League 2018.
Ronaldo scores against his new club Juventus in the Champions League 2018.

Opinion: Perez could have offered Ronaldo his new deal last January and still pushed to sign Hazard as Zidane wanted at the time but instead Perez was obsessed with Neymar.

Ronaldo thrives in the Champions League and this is where Real will really struggle to find an adequate replacement. His experience and determination in his favourite competition is something that Real will find very hard to replace and it may take two players to do the same job and maybe several years to retain the title again.

We think that Perez should have given Ronaldo his bonuses and improved deal as he had promised – as Barça did to ensure Messi stays at the club in 2016, and adding a further Euro 100m bonus last December - rather than speculating on Neymar at that point.

Ronaldo appears to still have 2 or 3 good years ahead of him.

He is in fantastic shape and has been named one of the fittest sports persons in the world. He was clocked at 31km/h in the Champions League last season, not bad compared to the fastest player in the competition, Mo Salah with 33km/h.

Perez should have done everything, like Barca did for Messi, to keep Ronaldo until he eventually retires from the club, like Zidane did before him in 2006 at age 34. Zidane retired from Real as a player in a glorious manner but Ronaldo never really got to say good bye to the Real Madrid fans.

It was his dream to retire at Real Madrid, the club of his life. But with a clumsy and arrogant, and also with a somewhat old school approach, Perez ended that dream, ironically with a dream of his own. Neymar.