The dawn of a new era as Cristiano Ronaldo moves to Juventus
If you aren't living under a rock, you would certainly have heard about Cristiano Ronaldo joining Juventus from Real Madrid, from a club where he has built an empire to a club he has aided it's downfall numerous times on the big stage.
Ronaldo to Juventus seemed like an outlandish claim, simply meant for click-baiting, but the footballing world has just witnessed one of the best transfers ever made in the history of the beautiful game.
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 on a record-breaking transfer. He made his dream come true when he switched his base to Madrid.
Before he moved to the Spanish capital, Ronaldo had been wreaking havoc in the English Premier League. He had ruthlessly and remorselessly ripped defenses apart, exploiting and exposing the weaknesses of defenders.
Ronaldo had already established himself as one of the best players to ever play in the tightly contested English Premier League. He already had his name in the history books via his incredible performances for the Red Devils in England and in Europe.
He was a fan favourite, blessed with blistering pace, and a knack to get the better of defenders with absolutely eye-catching dribbles and step-overs. A player whose freekicks were destined for the back of the net, whose willpower to succeed is second to none, who worked day in and day out to achieve his dreams, and above all he had an obsession for perfection.
Cristiano was and is a phenomenon. Simply the best in the world, and that was exactly the reason Spanish football behemoths Real Madrid signed him from Manchester United for a then record-fee.
When Ronaldo decided to switch base, Real Madrid were not what they are today. They had trophies in their cabinet but were floundering to establish their dominance over arch-rivals FC Barcelona. Barca was having a dream spell, with Messi and co impeccably executing Pep Guardiola's tactics.
Real Madrid had 9 Champions League trophies in their cabinet, but had failed to get past the pre-quarters in the years before he came in. Cristiano Ronaldo was bought to reinvent and reestablish a floundering empire.
A Herculean task was put forward, and Ronaldo accepted. But Real Madrid again failed to get past the pre-quarters in the next UEFA Champions League, whereas Barcelona was still dominant. People started to write off Cristiano!
He kept scoring goals, but they were not sufficient enough to bring back Real Madrid's former glory. His first season at Real Madrid ended trophyless - and boy, did he give up? We'll find out soon enough.
He had come under the shadow of the mighty Lionel Messi, who had been clinching Ballon d'Or after Ballon d'Or, La Liga after La Liga, accolades after accolades.
It seemed like Ronaldo's decision to join Real Madrid had come to backfired.
Slowly but steadily, building an empire
The debate between the fans on who the best ever is evolved into a Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi debate. Both were individually great players and were prolific goalscorers, and Ronaldo had done a lot of worthwhile things at Manchester United.
However, Ronaldo was dwarfed by Lionel Messi, as the latter took a 4-1 lead in the case of Ballon d'Ors. It finally indicated that Lionel Messi was the better, and Ronaldo could do nothing to overcome the deficit as the Portuguese skipper was ageing.
His insatiable obsession for perfection only gave Ronaldo the inspiration to shut his critics. He fought and gave everything he had, to reclaim his lost throne and former glory.
When it seemed like Pep Guardiola's Barcelona had reached the twilight of it's dominance, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped in, took the baton of change, and helped Real Madrid achieve it's dreams.
He was sharper than ever in the UEFA Champions League, he rose above all, delivering world class performances over and over. He made the UEFA Champions League look like a tournament made just for him.
He ran riot, bringing the most dreaded nightmares of UCL defenders to reality, he humiliated them with his goal-scoring exploits.
Ronaldo played an integral role in Real Madrid's 4 UEFA Champions League tile triumphs and took their tally to 13. On individual terms has equaled Lionel Messi's 5 Ballon d'Ors and would be eager to have the ultimate victory by clinching it once again - one last time probably.
At 33 Cristiano Ronaldo is still one of the best players in the world. While he has adapted to the limitations age has brought, he looks deadlier within the penalty box, and has evolved into a true fox in the box.
Dawn of a new era
Only time will tell if Real Madrid made the right decision to sell let CR7. Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid was more than a goalscorer.
Ronaldo may be 33, but he still has the ability to turn the tide, he is a true game-changer. Los Blancos have probably made a wrong move by selling Ronaldo before acquiring a worthy replacement.
Perez could find a player who has better pace than Ronaldo. Julen Lopetegui could find a player who can dribble better than Ronaldo. They could find a player who is more clinical, than Ronaldo is, at scoring. But they will never find a replacement for the inspiration and influence Cristiano Ronaldo brought to the Real Madrid dressing room.
He was never ready to give up for anyone. He always wanted to taste glory and wished to score goals all the time. Whenever his team was down, he exhorted his teammates with a valiant cry, motivated them, stimulated them to tackle the shackles and emerge triumphantly.
Whenever he played, his teammates felt the best player was playing with them. Ronaldo does and always wants his teammates to work hard, and conquer all obstacles. Ronaldo rose to the occasion when it mattered the most.
This season, Real Madrid couldn't get the better of Barcelona in La Liga. But in the Champions League, it was a different story altogether.
Ronaldo stepped up and led the team, showed the world their true demeanor - the demeanor of champions.
Cristiano Ronaldo's injury-time penalty against Juventus in the second-leg of the quarter-finals underlines his ability to perform on the biggest stage, when he faces intense pressure.
In injury time against Juventus last season, he proved his nerves were made of steel as he thumped the ball past the substitute goalkeeper, driving Real Madrid to the semi-finals.
Ronaldo's move to Juventus indicates a sea change as far as European club football is concerned. It will boost both Juventus and Serie A in the coming months and will do enough to bring back past glory.
Ronaldo will be eager to conquer Italy and make his legacy even brighter. He will be eager to score goals as he used to do at Real Madrid. He will also be keen to fly Juventus' flag high in the UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldo's presence at Real Madrid had at numerous times negated Juventus' attempts to clinch the UEFA Champions League trophy. If Ronaldo can lead Juventus to a UEFA Champions League title, it would be poetic justice, and it would also enable Ronaldo go into the history books as one of the greatest, if not the greatest.
Yes a new journey has just begun. It's the dawn of a new era!