Cristiano Ronaldo has finally opened up on the reason for his sensational switch from Real Madrid to Juventus, saying he left the Spanish giants after sensing that president, Florentino Perez, no longer saw him as being “indispensable”.
“I felt within the club, especially from the president, that I was no longer considered in the same way as I was at the beginning,” Ronaldo, 33, said in an interview with France Football magazine.
“For the first four or five years, I felt like Cristiano Ronaldo. Less so after.
“The president looked at me in a way that suggested I was no longer indispensable, if you know what I mean. That is what made me think about leaving.”
The Portuguese superstar joined Juventus in a 100 million-euro ($115 million) deal in July, ending a glorious nine-year association with Real that saw him become the club’s all-time leading scorer.
He noted that the departure of Zinedine Zidane – after guiding the club to a third straight Champions League crown in May – confirmed to him that it might be time to move on.
“My decision to leave was not based on him going. That said, it was one of the little details that confirmed to me what I had been thinking about the situation at the club,” Ronaldo said.
Inevitably, he added that he would “deserve” to win the Ballon d’Or this year to move ahead of rival Lionel Messi, but added that he’s more troubled about the rape allegation against him by former American model Kathryn Mayorga.
“Of course this matter interferes with my life. I have a partner, four children, an ageing mother, sisters, a brother, a family with whom I am very close,” he told the magazine.
“That is without talking about my reputation, that of an exemplary person.
“Imagine what that is like to have someone say you are a rapist, or that you have this or that.
“I know who I am and what I did. The truth will come out. And the people who criticise me and who expose my life today, who make a song and dance about it, these people will see.”