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- Cristiano Ronaldo is old by soccer player standards, but Real Madrid is selling him for more than the club paid for him back when he was in his prime.
- This is, in part, because transfer fees in soccer have exploded in recent years.
- It is also because of Ronaldo’s dedication and his willingness to let his game evolve.
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most dominant soccer players of the past decade and the star of Real Madrid for the past nine years, is leaving the Spanish club for Juventus in Italy, the club announced on Tuesday.
According to Fabrizio Romano of The Guardian, the transfer fee was approximately £88 million (US$117 million), which would be more than Real Madrid paid for Ronaldo in 2009.
The hefty fee is, in large part, due to the explosion in transfer fees in world soccer.
When Real Madrid bought Ronaldo from Manchester United for £80 million in 2009, they set what was then a world-record transfer fee. But transfer fees have skyrocketed since then. According to Goal.com, the four most expensive transfer fees in soccer history have all occurred within the past two years, with Brazilian star Neymar going to Paris Saint-German in 2017 for a whopping £200 million.
The ever-increasing flow of television money into the game, plus the rise of super-clubs like PSG that are backed by ownership groups awash in oil revenue, has made soccer players more expensive than ever.
However, this also a testament to Ronaldo as a player. At 33-years-old, he should be well past his prime as a soccer player. Indeed, another former Manchester United star, Wayne Rooney, was recently shipped off to a glorified retirement in Major League Soccer, and he is younger than Ronaldo.
But Ronaldo has cannily reinvented himself as a player, and as his pace has declined, he has gone from a winger known for tearing up and down the flanks with the ball at his feet, to an out-and-out striker and penalty box poacher. Of course, he also takes fantastic care of his body as well.
Now, with Ronaldo set for Italy, Real Madrid will be looking for his replacement. And at this point it would not be at all surprising if they set yet another world record transfer fee, on Neymar again or on Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, to do so.