You probably read the title of this article, checked Cristiano Ronaldo's stats since he's been at Juventus, seen the following:
- 101 goals in 134 appearances.
- Fastest to 100 goals in Juventus history.
- Two Serie A Footballer of the Year awards.
- One Capocannoniere.
- Two Scudetti.
- One Coppa Italia.
And thought: 'this Jack Gallagher fella is clearly a bit of an idiot.'
Well, you'd be right...in some ways...but not because of the aforementioned article title.
As, despite the numbers, despite the shirt sales, despite the Cristiano Ronaldo stan Twitter accounts all tweeting about Juve for three and a bit years, CR7 has been a flop in Turin.
A pretty damn big flop at that.
'Why?' you ask?
It's pretty simple:
Juventus forked out a club record €100m transfer fee and broke (absolutely obliterated) their wage structure to give Ronaldo a €31m-per-year contract after tax (yep, actually after tax) in order to win the UEFA Champions League.
They did not win the UEFA Champions League.
They didn't even come close.
In the three seasons Ronaldo spent with La Vecchia Signora, the club didn't even make it past the quarter finals in fact, and lost in fairly (extremely) embarrassing fashion to Ajax, Lyon and Porto in the knockout rounds each year.
After those three seasons of embarrassment, with Ronaldo another year older, with Manchester City and PSG giving the middle finger to the whole concept of FFP and European champions Chelsea signing Romelu Lukaku, it's hard to imagine Juventus getting any closer to winning Europe's premier cup competition this season with a now 36-year-old Ronaldo leading the line.
So, with that in mind, would there be any point in paying Ronaldo roughly €600,000 per week (yep, again, after tax) for another year when you know it's fairly impossible to win the competition he is quite literally being paid to win?
That's why CR7 telling Max Allegri and Juventus that he wants to leave is a huge win-win for the club.
His exit will be a huge weight lifted off of the club, both financially and football wise.
The financial win of him leaving is fairly clear to see. Selling Ronaldo to one of the Manchester clubs would take a contract that the club could never really afford in the first place off the books, free up budget to finally give key players like Paulo Dybala new contracts that they deserve, and sign some badly needed reinforcements in other areas of the pitch (here's looking at you Juve's midfield and left-back options).
And you'll understand why footballing wise this is a win if you've watched Juventus over the last three or four years too.
On the pitch, despite CR7 still getting his numbers, it's just never quite worked.
Three managers in three seasons have tried to work out how to fit the other 10 players in the starting lineup around the seventh best footballer of all time (according to me) with little to no success. Sure, Juventus still won games, for the most part, but they've rarely looked like one of the best teams in Europe since Ronaldo has been at the club - that despite Juventus looking like, and being, one of the best teams in Europe for the near decade prior to signing CR7.
Usually Juventus actually looked like a more competent outfit when Ronaldo wasn't in the starting XI. And if you don't believe me, watch some highlights from their 4-1 trouncing of Bologna on the last day of the 2020/21 season. In that game it was Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa who took up the mantle as leaders of the Juve attack and judging by how well they played, their ages, and their obvious chemistry, having those two lead the line together in Ronaldo's absence is a pretty exciting prospect for Juventini.
On top of Juve potentially being a better team this season without Ronaldo, there won't be the same pressure on the club and their recently re-appointed manager Allegri to go out and 'win now' - in Europe at least.
Yes of course they'll still be expect to win Serie A, they always are, but that expectation to go out and win the Champions League won't be there when they're not financially straining themselves to do so.
Instead, the pressure will be off Allegri and Juve.
The pressure will be off the club to win the Champions League immediately. The pressure will be off the players to pass to a near 40-year-old man at every opportunity in case he throws a temper tantrum. The pressure of feeling like the season is over when their club is knocked out of Europe will be off the fans. The pressure will be off Allegri to play a player in the twilight years of his career for 90 minutes in every single league and cup game in case - yep, you guessed it - said player throws a temper tantrum.
And without that pressure, this season may just be the most enjoyable one for fans, the players and the manager, in a very long time.