Cristiano Ronaldo feels 'time has come' to leave Real Madrid after agreeing Juventus move

Portuguese forward ends his nine-year stay at the Bernabeu

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2014 file photo Real's Cristiano Ronaldo holds the ball as he celebrates his four goals during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, files)
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Five-time world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo said "the time has come to open a new chapter" after the Portuguese forward agreed to join Italian champions Juventus from Real Madrid.

Ronaldo, 33, joined Spanish giants Madrid from Premier League club Manchester United in 2009 for a then world record £80 million (Dh390m).

He leaves the Spanish capital as the club's all-time top scorer with 451 goals in all competitions and won two Primera Liga titles and four Uefa Champions League trophies.

It has been widely reported that a deal worth £105m has been agreed between Juventus and Madrid that will end Ronaldo's nine-year stay at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo's transfer breaks Juventus' previous record, breaking the £75.3m they paid for Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli in 2016.

"These years in Real Madrid, and in this city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life," Ronaldo said in an open letter published on the Real Madrid website.

"I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for this sport 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 chapter in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept a transfer for me. I ask everyone, and especially our fans, to please understand me.

"Real Madrid has conquered my heart, and that of my family, and that is why more than ever I want to say thank you. Thanks to the club, the president, the directors, my colleagues, all the technicians, doctors, physios and incredible workers that make everything work and that are pending every detail tirelessly.


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"Thank you infinitely once more to our fans and thanks also to Spanish Football. During these nine exciting years I have had great players in front of me.

"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.

"Thanks to all and, of course, as I said that first time in our stadium nine years ago: Hala Madrid!"

Real Madrid described Ronaldo as one of the club's "great symbols" for his success on the pitch and the example he led off it.

"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," the club said in a statement.

"Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies achieved and the triumphs achieved 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 his great symbols and a unique reference for the next generations.

"Real Madrid will always be your home."