Completion of Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus is now only a matter of time, as Real Madrid, his soon to be former club, officially announced yesterday that the player had agreed to join Juventus. With the arrival of Ronaldo, arguably the greatest player of modern day football, Italian Serie A can finally hope to recoup its lost reputation and begin the process of becoming Europe's most prestigious football league again.
The collapse of Italian Serie A, which was once regarded as the financial powerhouse of European football, began in 2006 after police investigations unearthed "Calciopoli", the notorious Italian football scandal.
Juventus and some of its top-flight rivals -- Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina, and Reggina -- were accused of rigging matches by choosing favourable referees. Ultimately, Juventus were stripped of 2005 and 2006 domestic league titles and relegated to Serie B, meanwhile other inculpated clubs faced massive points deductions.
To make things worse, in following years, some other clubs faced bankruptcy or lost opulent patrons, and Financial Fair Play rules by UEFA made things more complicated than ever for club owners. Gradually, the competition failed to attract enough world class players, which resulted in lower revenues from TV broadcast and sponsorship.
Over the course of last 8 years, the top tier of Italian football turned into a one-horse race, in which a rejuvenated Juventus repeatedly finished top of the table dominating traditional rivals Roma, Napoli, Inter, and Milan.
Advent of the Portugal captain, who won 4 Champions League titles with Real Madrid, will not only make the Italian champions obvious favourites in Europe’s premier football tournament but also will open the door for other Italian clubs to sign more global superstars. Additionally, the financial impact of Ronaldo becoming a Bianconero has already been felt, as the club’s share prices increased by almost 10 percent last Thursday, based only on his transfer rumours.
Juventus have reportedly convinced Real Madrid with a lucrative transfer fee of €100 million, whereas they will spend €30 million a year for four years as salary of the 33-year-old living legend. The deal seems more like a well-calculated one than an emotional gamble because the world’s most famous athlete’s joining will enhance the club’s appeal and open up new business opportunities, particularly through merchandising.
Serie A was badly in need of a saviour, a phenomenon who could take the world by storm all on his own, and it seems like Juventus have done a great favour by managing to lure Cristiano away from Real Madrid, which indeed appeared unlikely even a month ago.
The transfer means a great chance for significantly increasing the competition's worldwide viewership. Consequently, more sponsors will be tempted to invest in Serie A clubs, which can potentially make them prosperous enough to bolster their squads and bring in some of the world’s best managers, things that are currently happening in the English Premier League.
From the 2018-19 season, the Spanish El Clasico (Real Madrid vs Barcelona) is sure to lose some of its attractiveness, as the world will be deprived of the captivating Ronaldo-Messi rivalry. On the contrary, Serie A rivalries, such as Derby della Mole (Juventus vs Torino) and Derby d’Italia (Juventus vs Inter), can possibly draw astounding global attention.
Ronaldo, with his personality and prolific goal scoring ability, can ensure news of Italian football grab newspaper headlines on a regular basis from now on. Even any failure of the Portuguese to replicate his Madrid performances for the Old Lady of Turin can find its place among trending topics in social and mainstream media. Either way, Serie A is poised to receive more curiosity than ever before.
Fans of Juventus and Italian football, in general, should take a deep breath and start believing – “Serie A can be great again!”
Will you be watching the upcoming season of Serie A to catch Cristiano Ronaldo in action? Tell us in the comments below!Published 12 Jul 2018, 01:37 IST