It’s Cristiano Ronaldo day at Juventus, and he arrived earlier today to great fanfare as Bianconeri lined the roads and welcomed the superstar with open arms. Ronaldo passed his medical earlier today, and then completed other club obligatory duties before speaking to the media in a press conference later in the afternoon.
Once the sizable Spanish and Portuguese media contingent present exhausted themselves and tried everyone’s patience with their unending Real Madrid talk, Ronaldo was finally able to expound on his decision to move to Juve -
“In my opinion Juventus is one of the best clubs in the world. It was a well thought through decision, and my friends and teammates told me for a long time this was a club that would suit me.
“So it was an easy decision given the power and size of the club, it’s the biggest club in Italy. There are outstanding directors and an outstanding Coach [Max Allegri] and a great President [Andrea Agnelli] who is used to winning, so it wasn’t a difficult decision in that sense.
“I enjoy football, I’m still quite young and I’ve always liked challenges in my life: from Sporting, to Manchester United, to Real to Juventus.
“I’m not sad [about leaving Real Madrid], this is a big club and with all due respect players at this stage of my career usually go to Qatar or China.
“So I’m grateful to Juventus for allowing me to join such a big club. My nine years in Madrid were beautiful but this is a brand new step in my life. I thank the supporters with all my heart, but I have to focus on this new challenge.”
He spoke about his belief in his own abilities and how he planned to approach his new club.
“I’ll try to show that I’m a top player, I’m going to work hard and I’m very ambitious. I don’t like to stay in my comfort zone, I like to seize new challenges.
“I know it’ll be difficult, but throughout my career I’ve always had difficult challenges. I don’t like to sit and look back at my successes, I want to move forward to new successes.
“I believe in my ability, I believe in my teammates and I’m sure everything will be very successful. I’m different from all the other players who think their career is over at my age. I want to show that I’m not like the others. I’m different.
“I feel great. It’s a big challenge, it’s a tough league but I’ll be ready. As I said before, age isn’t important, I feel good and motivated. Excited. I’ll try to do my best as always and I’m looking forward to trying to do my best and winning every title.”
LIVE from Allianz Stadium! Cristiano Ronaldo's #CR7DAY Juventus Press Conference! #CR7JUVEPosted by Juventus on Monday, July 16, 2018
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Juve signing Ronaldo is a clear indication that the club is going to go all out to win the Champions League, which seems the logical next step considering how the club has built itself up over the last decade following a season in the second division followed by two seventh-placed finishes.
“I know that the Champions League is a trophy that every club would like to win, it’s an objective. We’re going to fight for that and for the Scudetto, and all the other trophies.
“I know the competition will be tough, but we have to be calm and focused because it’s not easy to win the Champions League. Of course, I want to try to help.
“Juventus have been one step away from it and couldn’t win. Even if you get to the final it’s not certain you’ll win, but I hope I can be the lucky charm.
“I’m not here on holiday, I want to make history with Juventus.”
Did Ronaldo decided to switch to Juve after lifting his third Champions League title on the trot last season?
“I hadn’t decided in that moment to move to Juventus. Thanks to the President and the top management though, they thought of me and there were many important things.
“I’m in good shape physically, emotionally and mentally and I’m so proud to be here. As I’ve said, there are players who think their career is over at 32, 33 or 34 but being able to make this choice shows that I’m different from the others.
“I’ve had the chance to meet my new Coach, but I’ll start training on July 30. I’d like to play my first match in Serie A on August 12 , the first match.
“Juventus gave me a wonderful opportunity and I’m so grateful for that. I can see that Juventus is a club that can have a lot of success, they’ve won domestic cups and Scudetti and were in the Champions League final.
“I’m so proud to be here, I’m proud they were interested in me and I hope I can take Juventus to an even higher level.”
There were the inevitable Lionel Messi questions as well.
“I don’t see players as rivals. Everyone speaks about my rivalry with Messi, but everyone fights for their own club and that’s what I’ll do here.
“In the end we’ll look back and see who is the best.”
Was he looking to win the Golden Ball (Ballon d’Or) again?
“I’m not thinking about that. Of course I want to win and be the best, but who knows?
“Maybe I’ll be awarded it again, but things will happen naturally. It was difficult to win it before, and it will be here too. So we’ll see.”
The forward was given a standing ovation after scoring that goal at Juventus Stadium last season, famously reminiscent of Alessandro del Piero receiving similar applause at the Bernabeu many years ago now.
”It was a really a stunning moment. To be rewarded in that way is really gratifying, so I hope I can reward them in kind when I play for them. I’d also like to thank all the fans who came to the airport last night and here this morning.”
Welcome to Juventus, Cristiano.