EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

‘The time has come for a new stage in my life’: Full text of Ronaldo’s farewell to Real Madrid fans

The 13-time European champions confirmed that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was moving to Juventus.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo thanked the Real Madrid fans in an emotional letter after 13-time European Champions announced on Wednesday that their all-time top-scorer will be moving to Juventus, pulling down the curtains on a glittering nine-year reign.

The fee agreed between the two clubs is reportedly in the range of €100 million. After switching to Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2009 from Manchester United for a then record transfer of 80 million, Ronaldo smashed all transfer records with the Spanish giants. He finishes his time at Madrid as the club’s all-time top-scorer, scoring 450 goals in just 438 games.

His rivalry with fellow five-time Ballon d’Or winner and Barcelona star Lionel Messi was cherished world over, adding spice to El Clasico matches. Ronaldo scored less than 40 goals a season just once in those nine years. He had amassed more than 50 goals in as many as six seasons.

Full text of Ronaldo’s letter to Real Madrid fans:

These years in Real Madrid, and in this city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life. I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received. 

However, I believe that the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept transferring me. I feel that way and I ask everyone, and especially our followers, to please understand me. 

They have been absolutely wonderful for 9 years. They have been 9 unique years. It has been an exciting time for me, full of consideration but also hard because Real Madrid is of a very high demand, but I know very well that I will never forget that I have enjoyed football here in a unique way. 

I have had fabulous teammates in the field and in the dressing room, I have felt the warmth of an incredible crowd and together we have won 3 Champions League titles in a row and 4 Champions Leagues in 5 years. And together with them, on an individual level, I have the satisfaction of having won 4 Ballon d’Ors and 3 Golden Boots – all this, during my time in this immense and extraordinary club. 

Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you: thanks to the club, the President, the directors, my colleagues, all the technicians, doctors, physios and incredible workers that make everything work and that are pending every detail tirelessly. 

Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish Football. During these 9 exciting years I have had great players in front of me. My respect and my recognition for all of them. I have reflected a lot and I know that the time has come for a new cycle. I’m leaving but this shirt, this shield and the Santiago Bernabeu will continue to always feel as my own wherever I am. 

Thanks to all and, of course, as I said that first time in our stadium 9 years ago: Hala Madrid!”

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