Cristiano Ronaldo declared himself the new Special One of football as he vowed to go on and on at the highest level after sealing a £99.2million transfer to Juventus.
Ronaldo, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, leaves Real Madrid after a nine-year spell with the Spanish giants, in which he scored 451 goals and won four Champions League titles. Including his vast wages, Juventus’s investment in Ronaldo may reach up to £300m over the duration of his four-year contract, which will take the Portuguese forward through to the age of 37.
Ronaldo, who passed a medical at the club’s Allianz Stadium yesterday, insisted he is more driven than the usual mid-thirties star name who heads for ‘China or Qatar’ for a final pay day and promised to prove he is ‘different’ to his peers.
The captain of Portugal also pledged to carry on representing his country, leaving open the possibility of helping them defend their European Championship title in 2020 and appearing in another World Cup finals in Qatar two years later.
Ronaldo, 33, said: “I am not sad to leave Real Madrid. I am here because I want a challenge. Players around my age are going to other countries like China. For this season I am so grateful for the option that Juventus gave me.
“I will try and show I am a top player. I will work hard. You all know my statistics. I’m ambitious. I don’t want to be in a comfort zone.
“After Manchester United and Real Madrid, I’d now like to leave my mark on the history of Juventus. It was difficult in Manchester United and Real Madrid to win the Ballon d’Or but I want to be the best. Who knows? Maybe I can do it again if everything goes well.”
Ronaldo, who insisted that Juventus were the only club to make an offer for him this summer, also admitted he developed a bond with the club’s supporters when the Turin crowd rose to their feet to applaud his spectacular overhead kick against the Italian club in a Champions League quarter-final this year.
“It was a really stunning moment,’ he said. ‘To be welcomed this way is so rewarding and increases my motivation. I hope I can reward the fans and I say thank you to them.
“I’m so proud of being here. I’m different to all the others who think their career is over at my age. I will show I am not like the others. I am different. It’s emotional for me and the club. And I will never turn my back on my national team. If I can play with them again, I will do.”