Cristiano Ronaldo has proved to be a massive draw after his Serie A debut in a 3-2 defeat of Chievo by Juventus broke a number of records, according to Sky Italia.
The broadcaster showed a 68 per cent increase on the numbers for last season’s opening game between Juventus and Cagliari, while Gazzetta dello Sport, via Football Italia, said 2,330,234 unique viewers tuned in to see the £100 million acquisition in action.
That makes Ronaldo’s debut the fourth-highest viewed programme on the channel ever.
Only two Juventus vs Inter Milan match – and Roma’s visit to the Old Lady – have ever beaten it.
As the Portuguese superstar soared in Italy, Rea; Madrid and Barcelona’s attendances hit a worrying low last weekend for the opening round of La Liga fixtures.
Without Ronaldo the Bernabeu pulled in just 48,446 spectators (total capacity: 81,044) in the win over Getafe, while the Nou Camp attracted 52,356 (total capacity 99,354) to watch their side take on Alaves.
Los Blancos’ poor turnout was immediately attributed to the loss of Ronaldo this summer – but this has been a trend for some time.
Both clubs have hit the nadir for home attendances in their La Liga opener over the last decade.
Marca claim the previous low for Barcelona was last season when 56,480 turned out, whilst Real’s worst was two seasons ago when 61,568 attended.
A worse Madrid attendance full stop can only be found in the penultimate weekend of the 2008/09 season when 44,270 took in the meaningless clash with Mallorca after Barcelona had already clinched the title.
And that was of course, before Ronaldo signed.