SAO PAULO – Brazilian soccer legend Pele congratulated Cristiano Ronaldo on being signed by Italian-league club Juventus and compared the move to his decision to come out of semi-retirement at age 34 and play for the New York Cosmos.
“Congratulations, @Cristiano. It was hard to join another side after so long at Santos but it was the right move. Champions never tire of new challenges,” Pele, who before going to the United States had played his entire career (since the age of 15) for that Brazilian club, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
Real Madrid on Tuesday confirmed that it had acceded to the 33-year-old Portuguese superstar’s request to be transferred to Juve.
Juve confirmed that same day that an agreement had been reached with the Spanish-league giants “for a consideration of 100 million euros (around $117 million) payable in 2 financial years, in addition to the solidarity contribution provided by FIFA regulations and additional costs of 12 million euros.”
It added that the club and Ronaldo, winner of a record-tying five Ballon d’Or awards, had “signed a four-year contract of employment until 30 June 2022.”
Pele made a similar decision in 1975 when he signed with the Cosmos, where he played out the rest of his career.
The soccer icon had wrapped up his career at Santos after the 1974 season, ending a tenure at the Brazilian club that had lasted 18 years, six months and 26 days.
Pele, who was part of teams that won the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups, had announced his decision to retire from the Brazilian national team three years earlier.
“I scored my last international goal on 11 July 1971. My father said you should always stop when you are at your best,” he wrote Wednesday on Twitter.