Cristiano Ronaldo sent waves through the world of soccer with his unexpected departure from Real Madrid over the summer, leaving the Spanish giants after nine years and three consecutive Champions League victories for a €100 million price tag.
While there seemed to be very little competition with Juventus to sign one of the world's best players, it has now been revealed that there was a quiet race for the star's signature involving Manchester United, PSG, and AC Milan before Ronaldo settled on taking his talents to Turin, according to reports from The Express.
In the years preceding Ronaldo's move from Madrid, his former club of Manchester United always seemed the likeliest destination if he were to ever leave. Ronaldo established his career there and won the 2008 Champions League before moving to Real in 2009. Ronaldo is still a loved figure by United fans and with his former manager Jose Mourinho now calling the shots, most expected a reunion with the Red Devils at some point in his career.
However, when it was time for United to put forward an offer, the free-spending English side didn't put forward an offer that was far too low to tempt Real Madrid to let one of the world's most popular athletes go.
AC Milan was allegedly the first team to put in a bid for the Portuguese star, reportedly offering the monstrous sum of €150 million in an effort to re-establish their reputation as one of the top teams in Italy. it was Milan's lack of success in recent years alongside the dominance of Juventus' seven consecutive Serie A titles that kept Ronaldo from donning the red and black stripes.
After Manchester United and AC Milan put in their offers, the oil-rich French side Paris Saint Germain came in with an offer, but with a stipulation. If they were to sign Ronaldo, it would be on the final day of the transfer window. The logic of PSG was in protecting their young stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, two of the biggest prospects in world soccer and exactly the types of players that Madrid would look to as they sought a replacement for Ronaldo.
Ronaldo didn't want to risk holding off a move until the last minute, ending any chance of a move to Paris.The Express report actually reveals that it was Ronaldo himself who inquired about a move to Juventus. The Portuguese star appreciated the way the club was run and said that he was close to joining them back when he was beginning his career in his native Portugal.
"I like them because they are an organized club and I do not forget that they tried to sign me when I was at Sporting CP," said Ronaldo, according to the report.
During an interview with Juventus TV, Ronaldo also pointed to the uproarious applause he received from Juventus supporters when he scored a bicycle kick against them in the Champions League, a rare gesture of appreciation from opposing fans, as a factor. However, he made it clear it wasn't just one thing and that he felt he made the right choice for his career.
"I won't say it was the key point in my decision, but every detail helps," said Ronaldo. "Maybe. Of course, it helps when you see the people like you, the supporters and club like you, the feeling is completely different... I don't have a precise moment when I decided [to join]. During the years, we played a few times against Juve and I had a special feeling that the Italian supporters like Cristiano."