Cristiano Ronaldo blamed club president Florentino Perez as the main reason behind his decision to leave Real Madrid this summer and sign with Italian giants Juventus.
The Portugal captain ended his nine-year spell at Real Madrid with a move to Turin for a €55 million annual salary, following a reported rift with Real Madrid president Perez over a new contract.
Ronaldo told France Football in an excerpt from an interview released on Monday: “I felt that inside the club, especially on the part of the president, I was not under the same consideration as I was when I started with the club. The first four or five years there, I had the feeling of being Cristiano Ronaldo.
Then, I felt it less. The look in the president’s eyes told me that he no longer felt the same, that I was no longer indispensable.”
Over the summer, the clubs agreed on a transfer fee of €100m — a Serie A record — with the Italian club also paying €12m in ancillary fees to land the 33-year-old, who signed a four-year contract.
Reports from inside club were that Ronaldo was waiting for an offer from Real Madrid to improve upon his existing contract, which had three years left to run at an estimated €38.5m gross annually, making it worth significantly less than those of his fellow superstars — Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (€73.6m) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar (€66m) — despite the Portugal captain helping Madrid extend their record haul of European Cup trophies to 13.
Ronaldo, who won 16 trophies and scored 450 goals in nine seasons at Madrid, told France Football that Perez’s shift in attitude caused him to “reflect upon his exit” from Madrid and let him to eventually request to be transferred to Juve.
“Sometimes I watched the news where they said I had asked to leave. There was a little bit of that, but the truth is that I got the impression the president wouldn’t stand in my way. So I decided to continue my life elsewhere, to listen to offers from other clubs. Little by little, the idea took shape,” Ronaldo said in the advance of the interview, which is expected to run in its entirety in the French weekly magazine on Tuesday.
Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s all-time top goal scorer, left after leading the club to four Champions League titles — including three in as many years — and he claimed a host of personal accolades and records from his time in Spain, including four of his five Ballon d’Or awards.
Since Ronaldo’s departure, Real Madrid have been winless in six La Liga starts, including a 5-1 loss in Sunday’s Clasico against Barcelona.