Why Real Madrid have made a huge mistake by selling Cristiano Ronaldo
In case you have been so invested in the World Cup, and turned off all notifications that begin with the word 'Transfer', here's a piece of news that will shake the very earth you are standing on.
Yeah. That just happened.
Ronaldo is signing a four-year contract with an annual salary of around €30m. In Italy clubs have to pay the same amount in tax, which takes the total cost of the transfer to €340m (€100m transfer fee plus €240m in salary and taxes).
For many like me, who never imagined that they would see Ronaldo in a short that is not Real Madrid's, it is understandable that it takes time to process this news.
Once you have done that, you would think that 100 million euros for a 33-year-old player might be too much. Once you take into account the extra cash as well, some would even think that Juventus have made a monumental error in judgement.
I respectfully disagree.
Real Madrid have failed to take into account the other-than-footballing reasons that come with a player like Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7 is not just a player who brings 50 goals and whatever number of assists to the team.
He is a brand. In the modern world, branding is everything. Real Madrid, of itself, is one of the greatest clubs in the world - but add Ronaldo to that equation, and it becomes something more.
Whether you agree with it or not, one of the main reasons for Madrid's army of international fans was Ronaldo - who have been following him since the Manchester United days, and when he switched loyalties, they took over Madrid as their second club.
Another component was Ronaldo's natural charisma. Even the most staunch of Barcelona fans will agree that Ronaldo is probably the hardest working footballer in the world. It has always been like that - Messi was the skill, and Ronaldo was the perseverance in the yin-yang of modern football.
Ronaldo was someone you respected, even if you hated him. Every time he scored and soared to the air, and pointed to his chest proclaiming just who he is, the world watched in envy - and to be honest, a sense that things were right with the world.
That is the void that Madrid have to fill now. Not the goals and the assists, but the sheer impact one of the two greatest footballers of the century brings. They can buy a Neymar and bring in the goals. They can buy a Hazard and cover up their assists. But they are no Ronaldo.
That is really the problem, isn't it?
There is no other Cristiano Ronaldo here. One cannot help but feel that Florentina Perez has dropped the ball on this one. Sure, Ronaldo wanted a super-deal, and an alleged doubling of his salaries and Perez wanted to prove that he will not be held hostage.
If Perez had yielded, Madrid would have lost their 100 million euros. But they would have instead had Cristiano Ronaldo. Who in their right mind would choose the money over the Portuguese?
While we have to wait and let time answer this question for sure - because Ronaldo might just retire in one year or never score another goal on the pitch - but Ronaldo is not a player you let go of and leave things to chance.
Were Real Madrid justified or unjustified to sell Cristiano Ronaldo? What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!