Cristiano Ronaldo signing with Juventus is almost two weeks old now, with pretty much every Juventini out there eagerly awaiting when the Portuguese superstar will officially start training with his new teammates.
Ronaldo coming to Turin has brought a new level of attention to the club that we haven’t seen in years, if not decades. It has also brought a new level of expectations knowing that one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the sport is now wearing Juventus colors.
Juve president Andrea Agnelli and the board have shelled out a lot of money to bring Ronaldo to Juventus. They’ve paid over €100 million when it comes to the actual transfer, and a reported €30 million net salary is awaiting Ronaldo once he does start training.
There has been a lot of varying opinions regarding the Ronaldo-to-Juventus transfer. A lot of folks are ecstatic that Juve have been able to land a player of Ronaldo’s stature. There is, of course, the financial aspect to it all where Juve just spent a whoooole lot of money.
But, most of all, the expectations are sky high no matter what corner of the Juventus world you go. In our own corner, we’ve already delved into what Juventus could be like with Ronaldo. Now, we try and talk about what Juventus will be like with Ronaldo.
The roundtable has assembled, and now we must discuss Ronaldo.
t’s simple, really, win the Champions League at least a couple of times.
Honestly I don’t see him playing out the full four years of his deal before we move him on to the MLS, but in the 2-3 years we might get out of him, the Holy Grail is about all we need from him. Everything else we have shown we can get with the players we have.
I hate to give the obvious answer, but it’s pretty darn obvious that we’ll need to win the Champions League at least once, if not twice (and I suppose the Club World Cup as well then, since I’m one of the few that actually cares about the competition). Scudetti and Coppa Italia have been attained for years and years on end now (not that I’m complaining!), so continuing to win that wouldn’t justify Ronaldo’s purchase because Juve’s accomplished that without him.
More than that, though, I think what Juventus really needs to achieve in the next few years is, as much as I dislike the term, a serious elevation in its brand value. Ronaldo’s purchase in tandem with the changing of the logo — which, the more time has passed, the more I’ve understood it as a very sensible move — gives the club the capacity to lift the brand to a whole different level. We all know that this has been Andrea Agnelli’s obsession ever since he first took over the club and it has been especially apparent if you read between the lines of his comments about the infamous European Super League.
Hence, the club absolutely must use the Ronaldo transfer to elevate the value of the “Juventus brand” to the top 3, 4, or 5 in the world.
Because, honestly, if purchasing a player like Ronaldo can’t do this, I’m not sure if Juventus ever will reach the (commercial) heights of the Manchester Uniteds, Real Madrids, and Barcelonas in the world.
On the field, a Champions League crown is an absolute must. Everything the club has done over the last two or three seasons has been in service of that goal, this more than anything else. Winning a record number of Scudetti is nice, but at this point the cup with the big ears is where it’s at. Gonzalo Higuain was supposed to be that missing piece. Now it’s Ronaldo. Faltering in the quarters, or failing at the last hurdle, won’t be acceptable anymore, especially not with Ronaldo in the fold.
Off the field, the team needs to capitalize on the brand-building aspect of Ronaldo’s arrival. Many people are expecting this move to eventually pay for itself in shirt sales and other marketing opportunities. Frankly, if it doesn’t, they could be in real trouble — between Financial Fair Play and the potential for other top players to ask for higher wages in the wake of Ronaldo’s arrival, Beppe Marotta could be faced with the prospect of having to dismantle this team and rebuild from the ground up, which isn’t very appealing.
Juventus has taken its time under Andrea Agnelli, building a solid financial foundation with the likes of the Allianz Stadium and the Continassa project. They’re solidly in the second tier of top European clubs in terms of financial muscle, but this move is a signal that the team is looking to make a leap forward. If the Champions League is to be an objective that is theoretically obtainable every year, not just once in a blue moon, that savvy now has to be brought to bear to maximize Ronaldo’s presence to vault the team into the Real Madrid/Barcelona/Bayern Munich/Manchester United level as a brand.
It will take considerable skill — he’s only going to be around for four years, after all — but if anyone can do it, this group of directors can.
The obvious answer here is that Juventus needs to win a Champions League title, and while I think there’s an element of truth to that I want to proffer an alternate route of success: If Juventus either retains Paulo Dybala, or hereafter becomes a club that regularly and competitively vies for (and succeeds in fielding) top-five global players, then this move is a success.
For the past several years Juventus has been a top-five or so club without, honestly, any top-5 or, arguably, top 10 players. Now the club has one. There are immediate implications on the pitch; there are marketing implications; there are all sorts of implications. Consequences, too. And if one of the consequences is that all-time great players want to play at Juve, then this is a success with or without the Champions League crown in the next four years.
It’s got to be the Champions League, right?
The team, as currently constituted, was far and away the best and deepest squad in Serie A already. If they had stopped at the Joao Cancelo signing, they would be the favorites to repeat in both domestic competitions and it wouldn’t have been particularly close.
If you want to get into the business and marketing aspect, maybe Juventus has already won, regardless of what they accomplish on the field. Sporting wise though, you don’t get a guy like Cristiano Ronaldo to keep throttling the likes of Chievo, Palermo, Cagliari and Inter of the world. It’s UCL or bust and they know it.
Either way, one thing I’m sure of is that Netflix is going to renew First Team: Juventus.
The next four years with Cristiano Ronaldo are going to be fun. Like, really fun. He is going to score goals and score a lot of them. I didn’t think I would ever see the man do his famous celebration in Allianz Stadium FOR Juventus, but it’s going to happen.
The goals that Ronaldo is going to score will go a long way in helping Juventus accomplish their aspirations, the most important of which is undoubtedly securing a Champions League trophy. A move of this magnitude supports the evidence for that. Because of this, I believe that in the next four years, a Champions League triumph needs to be accomplished to validate the transfer.
Regardless of whether Cristiano was bought or not this summer, Juventus was still going to be the favorite to win the Scudetto for an eighth straight year. The team was already made stronger with the purchases of Emre Can, Mattia Perin, Joao Cancelo and bringing back Mattia Caldara and Leonardo Spinazzola from their loan spells with Atalanta. Ronaldo reinforces the squad, of course, and adds an immeasurable new dimension to it, but it’s not like this transfer was completed in order to catch up to Napoli, Roma, or Inter. Juventus was already in poll position for the league.
Andrea Agnelli and Beppe Marotta decided to splash the money on this move so that come the end of the season in 2019, 2020, 2021, or 2022, the big-eared trophy can be brought back to Turin. After being so close in 2015 and 2017, Ronaldo will, theoretically, help Juventus get over the hump. He will provide a constant, world-beating attacking threat in Europe, a competition in which no other individual has had more success than himself. Now amongst a group of players who, aside from Can who only appeared four times total for Bayern Munich in 2012-13, have never tasted European glory, CR7 will be able to provide experience and composure in the grind that is the lead up to the final. For a team and its fans who have longed to finally win the competition again for the first time since 1996, and being so close many times after, Ronaldo will not only be looked upon to provide this feat himself, but by the supporters as well.
If he can bring the trophy back to Turin for the third time in the club’s history, no one will ever question the transfer from then on. Ronaldo would live on in history as the man who was the final piece to the puzzle.