On Tuesday the news became official — after one of the most dominant decades of club soccer in the history of the sport, Cristiano Ronaldo was leaving Real Madrid to join Juventus, with the Italian club paying a transfer fee reported at €100 million (US$117 million) to bring in the Portuguese superstar.
But the effects of Ronaldo’s transfer will likely be felt far beyond Juventus and Real Madrid, as his move could trigger a domino effect that forces the movement of tons of stars in yet another busy summer.
The move was shocking but also makes sense for both clubs involved. Real Madrid got nine of the best years any player has ever produced, winning La Liga and Champions League titles while scoring at an astounding rate, and even made a profit on the transaction of a 33-year-old star thanks to the high transfer fee.
Meanwhile, Juventus is getting the biggest superstar on the planet, and the proven goal-scorer that the club needs should it hope to take home a Champions League title of its own — Ronaldo’s 26 goals in La Liga last season were more than any Juventus player has scored in 20 years.
Real is now left with a Ronaldo-sized hole to fill, and an extra €100 million (in addition to the already impressive coffers of the club) to fill it. President Florentino Perez likes to sign superstars, or “Galacticos,” to play for his club, and with Ronaldo responsible for an outsized portion of Los Blancos’ offensive production over the past decade, the club will spare no expense to find its next star forward.
Potential Ronaldo replacements are some of the biggest names in soccer. Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are both gifted finishers that fit the bill, and with Paris Saint-Germain being investigated over financial fair play, it’s not impossible to imagine one of them moving to Real Madrid in yet another record-setting transfer deal.
Should PSG be able to hold on to both of its prized players, gifted young strikers in England such as Harry Kane and Mo Salah jump to mind as potential Ronaldo replacements. While both players seem pretty attached to their current homes, there’s not a ton of other places to look when in search of a striker who can net 30 goals a season. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has also been rumored as a potential Galactico signing, meaning that whichever striker Real brings in could have the benefit of Hazard playing just behind them.
Regardless of which superstar ends up stepping into the shoes of Ronaldo, one thing is certain — their departure to Real Madrid will leave their previous club in need of a scorer, and with a new influx of cash to find him.
Say Real decides to bring in Kane, sending another large transfer fee to Tottenham to put the deal through. The Spurs are not merely going to sit back and count their cash after sending over their star player. Instead, they’ll be a new leading destination for other talented strikers looking to jump a level. The cycle is self-perpetuating through levels of soccer until one team at the end of the trail is left without another signing but with a check in their hands.
Transfer season is rarely a calm one, but between Ronaldo’s departure and Real Madrid’s deep pockets and commitment to bringing in superstars, the summer of 2018 has the potential to see some of the top talents in soccer moving across Europe for more record-setting sums. Ronaldo was merely the first domino of many to fall.
Source: Business Insider