Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer to Juventus is the first step to reviving Italian football
There was a time in the 1980's and 1990's, when every player relished playing in the land of the Roman Colosseum. Not long ago, when Azzurri conquered the world for the fourth time in 2006, only one team -- Brazil -- had one World Cup more than the Italians.
It is painful to admit that the four-time champions had not taken part in the quadrennial extravaganza for the first time since 1958. The agony of the Azzurri fans was inconsolable after they failed to qualify for the World Cup.
While some of the Italian superstars' international careers ended in despair, including captain Gianluigi Buffon, it is hard to imagine an Italian team without any significant stalwarts who once produced plethora of prominent players like Paolo Maldini, Giuseppe Meazza, Franco Baresi, Roberto Baggio, Dino Zoff, Paolo Rossi, Alessandro Del Piero, Fabio Cannavaro, Francesco Totti, Marco Tardelli, Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Pirlo and the list goes on.
Coming to the core and foundation of the national team, the domestic league in Italy before the Premier League era was an undisputed attraction for global superstars and young footballers. Players like Zico, Maradona, Socrates, Cafu, David Trezeguet, Michel Platini, Clarence Seedorf, Gabriel Batistuta, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo (Brazil and now Portugal one also), Marco Van Basten, Kaka, Zinedine Zidane and many more dazzled on the Italian turf for a generation that saw the rise of Italy from their global showpiece win in 1982 to the all-Italian Champions League final in 2003.
Since then, even though AC Milan won it twice and Mourinho's Inter clinched it in 2010, the domestic league started to faint and it is not an attraction for superstars anymore. The once jam-packed stadiums lost their charm for fans due to many reasons.
One of them was the difference in principles of commercialization, which led Premier League and La Liga to gain financially, and the second reason was the curse of the match-fixing scandals, which led to many stars departing from the famous Italian clubs to other leagues. Teams began recruiting rejected players from other leagues, who came cheap and wrecked the Italian footballing atmosphere.
What happened to one of the world's best footballing nations was utterly disappointing to say the least. But the curve seems to be on the upward trajectory now as the Italian giants, Juventus twice reached the Champions League final in four years and are trying to regain its once-glorious days.
That doesn't mean the good days are coming back, but there is a significant improvement in the performances of teams including Juventus, Napoli and Roma. The situation seems to get better as Juventus procured the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and one of the world's most successful players, Cristiano Ronaldo. It is the best signing in recent history and one of the major coups in the history of Italian football.
The mega money signing undoubtedly magnetizes the eyes of the football fans towards Serie A again. This will encourage new sponsorship deals, financial stability and is a sign of more to follow.
Global football fans, who are interested in the fierce battle between Messi's and Ronaldo's teams, and an intensive and unpredictable league like the Premier League, will now keep an eye on their beloved star. His arrival will make the other teams in Serie A compete for more and follow Bianconeri as a new example. There is also a belief now that superstar players would prefer to play in this league, which is an encouraging sign for young players.
Even Jose Mourinho commented on his move, "La Liga no longer has the two best players in the world. Now one’s in Spain and the other’s in Italy, Now everyone looks at Italy for Ronaldo."
Thank you, Ronaldo, the epitome of success for choosing Italy as your next destination, and we hope you can replicate your success with Juventus in the coming days and rejuvenate Italian football to its past glory. We hope this is the first of many to follow in your footsteps.