Cristiano Ronaldo says he’ll look back on his time at Real Madrid as ‘the happiest years of my life’ as he leaves for Juventus.
Madrid confirmed Ronaldo had asked to join the Turin club and they agreed to his request, ending a nine-year spell at Santiago Bernabeu.
“These years at Real Madrid, and in the city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life,” Ronaldo’s open letter, published on Madrid’s official site, said, with the club also paying tribute to the departing Portugal captain.
“I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for these fans and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received.
“However, I believe the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept transferring me. I feel that way and I ask everyone, especially our fans, to please understand.
“They have been absolutely wonderful for nine years. They have been nine unique years. It has been an exciting time, full of consideration but also hard because Real Madrid is very demanding, but I know I will never forget that I have enjoyed football here in a unique way.
“I have had fabulous teammates on the pitch and in the dressing room. I have felt the warmth of an incredible crowd and together we have won three Champions Leagues in a row, and four in five years. And with them, as well, on an individual level, I have the satisfaction of having won four Balons d’Or and three Golden Boots. All during my time at this extraordinary club.
“Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and my family’s heart, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you: to the club, the President, the directors, my teammates, the Coaches, doctors, physios and incredible people who make everything work and that attend to every detail tirelessly.
“Thank you infinitely again to our supporters and also thank you to Spanish football. During these nine exciting years I have had great players in front of me. My respect and recognition to all of them.
“I have reflected a lot and I know the time has come for a new cycle. I’m leaving but this shirt, this badge and the Bernabeu will continue to feel my own wherever I am.
“Thank you to everyone and of course, as I said that first time in our stadium nine years ago: Hala Madrid!”