Cristiano Ronaldo is determined to write another chapter in his illustrious career after joining Juventus in a €112million (£99.2million) from Real Madrid.
Portugal forward Ronaldo, 33, agreed a four-year contract with the Serie A champions in one of the most dramatic moves in European football, which was confirmed on Tuesday evening.
Ronaldo scored a record 451 goals over nine years at the Bernabeu, having signed from Manchester United and helping deliver four Champions League triumphs.
However, as the Spanish giants prepare for life under new head coach Julen Lopetegui, Ronaldo felt the time was right to move on.
In an open letter posted on Real Madrid’s website, Ronaldo pleaded with fans to understand his decision.
“These years at Real Madrid and in this city of Madrid have been possibly the happiest of my life,” he said.
“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 that 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, and especially our followers, to please understand me.”
Juventus revealed in a club statement that they would pay €100million to Madrid over two financial years and “additional costs” of €12million.
Real expressed their gratitude to a player who helped the club to four Champions League successes, three FIFA Club World Cups, two LaLiga titles and two Copa del Rey crowns.
A club statement said: “Real Madrid CF communicates that, in response to the will and request expressed by the player
Cristiano Ronaldo, it has agreed to transfer him to Juventus FC.
“Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football.
“Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies achieved and the triumphs achieved on the playing fields during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement.
“For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of its great symbols and a unique reference for the next generations. Real Madrid will always be your home.”
Ronaldo, whose transfer from United in 2009 was for a then world-record fee of £80m, also paid tribute to Madrid.
“Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you,” the Portugal international said in his letter.
“Thanks to the club, the president, the directors, my colleagues, all the technicians, doctors, physios and incredible workers. They make everything work and they are tirelessly watching every detail.
“Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish football. I have reflected a lot and I know that the time has come for a new cycle.
“I’m leaving, but this shirt, this badge and the Santiago Bernabeu will continue to always feel as my own wherever I am.”