ROME – Juventus became aware of Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s desire to join the Serie A champion in April 2018, the club’s Sporting Director, Fabio Paratici, told Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview published Tuesday.
Ronaldo joined Juventus over the summer, on a four-year deal coming from UEFA Champions League three-time defending champion Real Madrid, for a reported 112 million euros ($131 million).
Paratici said he heard of the Portuguese forward’s interest in playing for the Italian club when he, Paratici, met with Ronaldo’s representative, Jorge Mendes, during the Madrid-Juventus clash in the CL quarterfinals at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on April 3, 2018.
“Mendes looked at me and said ‘You will not believe me but, if Cristiano would leave, he wants to go to Juventus. Remember that it is not as strange as you think and let’s talk more later,’” Paratici related.
After a few months, Mendes met with Paratici again to close the transfer deal for Portugal right-back Joao Cancelo from Spain’s Valencia to Juve and spoke again about Ronaldo’s desire to move to Turin.
Paratici said that Mendes told him that, “Cristiano played for Manchester United, then for Madrid, he is only going to historic teams. He never played in Italy, but he wants to win the title there too. If you want him, he is available.”
Paratici explained he had to consult with club president Andrea Agnelli for the approval before Juventus could finally complete the deal that became the most expensive in the history of the Italian top league, making Ronaldo the highest-paid Serie A player.
Paratici acknowledged that signing Ronaldo was important for Juventus at a time when the team’s captain and legendary goalie, Gianluigi Buffon, moved to France’s Paris Saint-Germain after winning seven Serie A titles in a row.
In discussing upcoming moves, Paratici confirmed that team coach Massimiliano Allegri and Argentine playmaker Paulo Dybala are staying at Juventus, saying that no player leaves the club unless he asks for it.
Paratici also stressed that Juve’s players are not comparable to any other players: “With whom could you compare Dybala? Maybe (only) with (Lionel) Messi.”