Cristiano Ronaldo has parted way with Real Madrid to join Italian club Juventus, ESPN reports.
Juventus reportedly confirmed Tuesday that the two clubs had agreed on a transfer fee of a $117 million, which is a Serie A record sum. According to sources, Real Madrid was wiling to match Juventus’ gross salary offer of around $64.5 million annually, but the 33-year-old superstar still decided to move and sign a four-year contract with the Italian club.
The move, which ends Ronaldo’s nine-year stint with Real Madrid, comes on the heels of his rumored rift with team president Florentino Perez over a new contract. His departure also comes soon after he’s become the club’s all-time top goal scorer and led them to three Champions League titles in the past three years.
In a heartfelt statement, Ronaldo called his time with Real Madrid “the happiest years of my life.”
“These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Madrid have quite possibly been the happiest years of my life,” he wrote. “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.”