So, Cristiano Ronaldo has actually joined Juventus. It wasn’t all just posturing from the Portuguese superstar this time, he’s actually upped sticks and headed for Turin.
The move makes sense from a number of angles. For Ronaldo, he leaves Real Madrid a legend, he gets to grow his brand and reputation in another country and if things go t*** up at the Bernabeu without Zidane, Ronaldo can suggest it’s all because he’s longer there.
For Juventus, well they get without doubt one of the greatest footballers on the planet, with repeatedly proven match winning abilities and will gain absolutely enormous global exposure and marketing as a result of the move.
There’s one question on most people’s lips, though, can a 33-year-old really be worth over £100 million? Well, for comparison, here we take a look at the 7 most expensive signings over the age of 30:
7. Jeremy Mathieu – £15.8 million
We start off with an obvious inclusion in this seven, that French ginger bloke who spent a few years on Barcelona’s bench. Alright, that’s a bit harsh. A defender who was chased by the likes of Everton and Newcastle in his early years, Mathieu ended up settling at Valencia, where he earned plaudits as a well-rounded and versatile defender. Barcelona signed Mathieu in the summer of 2014, aged 30, and he went on to make 62 league appearances in three seasons at the Camp Nou. Now aged 34, the five-time capped former French international joined Sporting Clube de Portugal on a free transfer last summer.
6. Claude Makelele – £16 million
Claude Makelele may well be older than you think. The highly-regarded defensive midfielder was 30 when he joined Chelsea in 2003, yet not only did he give the club five years of excellent service, he then moved on to Paris Saint-Germain and spent three seasons as a key first team player there too. Makelele’s sole defensive-mindedness in midfield was unfamiliar in England at the time, but his importance to Chelsea saw the role nicknamed the ‘Makelele role’. Given that the Frenchman made the FIFPro World XI in 2005 and was Chelsea’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2006, it’s probably fair to say he justified his £16 million price tag at 30.
5. Claudio Bravo – £17 million
Uh oh. From a Premier League legend to an undeniable flop, if there were such a thing as the ‘Bravo role’, it would just mean a goalkeeper who is unable to use their hands. Bravo joined Manchester City from Barcelona in Pep Guardiola’s first season at the club, as the new boss looked to stamp his authority on the team with a shot stopper who could also play out from the back. Bravo could certainly do that, but he couldn’t stop many shots. His poor performances prompted Manchester City to return to the transfer market, but they seem to have done the trick with Ederson.
4. Samuel Eto’o – £22 million
Many of you will remember Samuel Eto’o joining Anzhi Makhachkala from Inter Milan in 2011, you were probably thinking, who the *beep* are Anzhi Makhachkala. Anzhi were bought by Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov in 2011, and international stars like Yuri Zhirkov, Diego Tardelli and Roberto Carlos soon came through the door. Undoubtedly the biggest signing of them all, though, was a 30-year-old Samuel Eto’o. The Cameroon legend had just scored 37 goals in his second season at Inter Milan, having won the treble in his first. The move supposedly made him the best paid player on the planet at that time, and he ended up scoring 36 goals in a little over two seasons in Russia. Eto’o has since turned out for the likes of Chelsea and Sampdoria, and is now playing for Konyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig.
3. Gabriel Batistuta – £23.5 million
An intelligent centre-forward with a poacher’s instinct and a lethal finish, Gabriel Batistuta is the only man in history to have scored hat-tricks at two World Cups. He became a Fiorentina legend over the course of a nine-year spell with the club, but left in 2000 due to his desperation to win a Serie A title. He joined Roma for over £20 million at the age of 31, becoming the most expensive 30+ year old player in history. In his first season, Batigol bagged 20 goals and finally won his Italian league title.
2. Leonardo Bonucci – £37 million
You will often find the prolific Argentine centre-forward Diego Milito in lists of this ilk, but the former Champions League winner actually joined Inter before his 30th birthday. It is another former Inter Milan man who comes in at second, meaning Gabriel Batistuta held the title of most expensive 30+ year old for some 17 years. Bonucci is widely regarded as one of the most assured central defenders of his generation, and he formed a formidable back three alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli during his seven years at Juventus. Bonucci left Juve last summer in a near £40 million move to AC Milan. It was a disappointing first season at the San Siro for Bonucci, as AC Milan finished sixth once again.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £105 million
Top spot in this seven, of course, goes to Cristiano Ronaldo. The inspiration for this seven, Ronaldo recently became the sixth most expensive footballer in history at the age of 33, joining Neymar as the only other player to feature twice in the top 10 most expensive transfers of all time. Ronaldo is a force of nature and his impeccable diet, discipline and approach to training has allowed him to stay at the top as he approaches his mid-30’s.
With that being said, he has had to very cleverley adapt his game, and time catches up with all of us. It’s a smart move by Ronaldo, and he’ll rightly receive enormous praise if he can guide Juve to that elusive Champions League title.