Cristiano Ronaldo and the altering dynamics of an ageing superstar
The Portuguese has already scored three goals in the Serie A and has also registered an assist.
One of the summer’s biggest transfers was Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus from Real Madrid. It was shocking, unpredictable and the many ramifications of the move are still being unraveled. Big money moves are a common commodity in football, but Ronaldo is obviously not every other footballer. The Portuguese is a trailblazer on the pitch and even off it, he may just have set a trend that could reshape the way older footballers are viewed.
33-years of age right now, Ronaldo is easily one half of the football duo that has defined the sport for a generation of fans. He has won adulation and hatred, praise and criticism but above all, he has won silverware, both professional and personal like no other. Ever since his arrival on the shores of Manchester 14 years ago, Ronaldo has been capturing the imagination of audiences with his pace, skill and his hunger to score goals. He moved to Real Madrid in 2009 with a then world record fee of 80 million pounds, which now seems like a bargain.
Watch: Juventus 2-1 Sassuolo, Cristiano Ronaldo opens his tally in the Serie A
During his time in Spain, the former Sporting Lisbon winger was the face of La Liga and his move immediately intensified his ongoing rivalry with a certain Lionel Messi. Week after week, season after season these two redefined The Beautiful Game and not only became the most successful players of their generation, but also the most commercially successful ones. Nine seasons, 16 titles including four Champions Leagues and 451 goals later, the 2016 Euro Cup winner has packed his bags and left for the Old Lady of Italy.
Watch: Frosinone 0-2 Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo adds to his Serie A tally
No one will ever question Ronaldo’s ability or his dedication to the sport he practices, but at an age when most players are bent into shape by Father Time, the Portuguese’s decision to shift to a top-tier European League comes off as puzzling to many. Madrid President Florentino Perez had a “gentleman’s agreement” with Ronaldo in which he dropped his release clause fees from a billion to a relatively paltry 103 million euros and the Agnelli family, Juventus’ s majority shareholders lapped him up right away. The winger made his bow in a nervous 3-2 win over Chievo, and opened his scoring in his fourth Juve match against Sassuolo, where he scored a brace. Also in his side's fixture against Frosinone, he scored a goal. In his first Champions League match for the Turin outfit against Valencia, he was wrongly sent off in the 29th minute – also his first red card in Europe's premier competition. The main question herein lies, how well can he perform in the Serie A and would this clear the coast for other ageing superstars to keep plying their trade in Europe?
For the first part, I think Ronaldo would perform very well for the next two or three seasons for the Bianconeri. As for the second, I do not think his move may start a domino but it will certainly give food for thought to all.
The 33-year old's trademark celebration is a trend for all football fans
First off, my understanding is that Ronaldo is the Hail Mary for Juventus in terms of rebranding itself as a global club. The investment is seen as one having massive short-term benefits, with the club desperately trying to rebrand it to appeal to the younger generation. The new design of the club crest was received poorly and repeated triumph in the Serie A was seen as nothing more than hegemony. Recruiting Ronaldo is like killing two birds with one stone: it will, if not already, has increased the club’s global branding and will make them a sure-shot challenger for the Holy Grail of European Football. The Portuguese has won the competition a jaw-dropping five times and was an instrumental part of the Real Madrid side that has won the annual event three times in a row. He not only brings a portfolio of sponsors but also a bag of goals and given how deep Juventus’ squad depth is, it is firepower that will come handy once the business end of the season kicks in.
The flip question is obviously, whether footballers on the other side of 30, who are in a physical decline would now consider moving to leagues like Serie A where there is an established supremacy in order to ensure their relevancy in the European stage. To that end, it seems likely that many would like to think about it but it is doubtful as to how many would add to it. The exhaustion of playing top-level club football is not a toll, a lot of players could take, which is probably the reason why the likes of Wayne Rooney would continue to find refuge in American, Chinese and Middle-Eastern leagues. The lure of incredible wages, low pressure and minimal media scrutiny is a blue pill most athletes could consider taking in exchange of their pride. Not everyone is really a Cristiano Ronaldo after all, are they?
Published: Wed Sep 26, 2018 04:37 PM IST