Cristiano Ronaldo has explained he wanted to leave Real Madrid for a “big club” like Juventus, rather than settle for an easy retirement in China or Qatar.
The Portugal international was unveiled as a Juventus player on Monday night following the completion of his medical, sealing a for €100 million (£88m/$117m) move to Serie A.
Speaking at his first press conference for Juventus, the 33-year-old signalled his intent of still playing at the highest level of professional football instead of opting for the ‘easy’ option of signing for a club based in a lucrative Asian league.
“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,” Ronaldo told reporters.
He references players such as former Barcelona star Xavi who currently plays for Qatari side Al Sadd. Carlos Tevez also had a stint at Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua, while Asia remains a popular destination for former La Liga greats – with both Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres having recently completed moves to Japanese clubs.
Ronaldo suggested he wouldn’t feature against Real Madrid in the scheduled ICC match against Juventus, so football fans will have to wait for a potential mouthwatering Champions League clash to see the 33-year-old against his former club.
He was glowing in his praise of the Scudetto holders for splashing the cash to sign him from Real Madrid, with whom he won the Champions League again in May.
“I feel great to be here. It’s a big challenge, it’s a tough league but I’ll be ready,” he added. “Age isn’t important, I feel good and motivated. I’m 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.
“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.”
The former Manchester United and Sporting player also commented on his rivalry with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, which will naturally reduce with him leaving La Liga.
“I don’t see players as rivals,” he added. “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.”
Ronaldo is expected to start training with Juventus at the end of July and Serie A is expected to get under way on August 18.
The Italian fixture list will be released on Friday July 20, when Ronaldo will learn who his first Serie A opponents will be.