There’s been another big player move in the sports world that affects Philadelphia. But this time, it could be a good thing for local fans.
Global soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo changed clubs on Tuesday, as Spain’s Real Madrid sold him to Italy’s Juventus for a $131.6 million transfer fee. The deal takes the Portugal native from one giant team to another: Real has won three straight UEFA Champions League titles and four of the last five, while Juventus has 34 Italian league titles and two European Cups.
It could also bring him to Philadelphia later this month. Juventus will tour the United States as part of the International Champions Cup in late July and early August, with Philadelphia the first stop. They’re set to play German power Bayern Munich at Lincoln Financial Field on July 25.
Could that game be Ronaldo’s debut in Juventus’ famed black-and-white stripes? Nothing is official yet, but since Ronaldo and Portugal were knocked out of the World Cup on June 30, he will have had a good amount of vacation time before the bianconeri leave for America.
The odds at least seem good that he’ll make the trip, whether or not he takes the field. Juventus will be the opponent for the MLS all-star team in Atlanta on Aug. 1, which is a huge marketing opportunity for the club and the player.
It’s definitely not a certainty, though — and even sources well-connected to the ICC don’t know yet if he’s coming. Juventus hasn’t announced its travel roster for the event, and it’s not known when they will.
(Bayern Munich has, for the record. Star names coming over include wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry and midfield general Arturo Vidal.)
Ronaldo hasn’t played in the ICC since 2015. He skipped last year’s event for personal reasons that included the Confederations Cup and a tax fraud trial two days before Real faced the MLS All-Stars, and missed the 2016 edition because of an injury suffered in the European Championship final.
This much is certain: whatever tickets are left for Juventus’ games in the U.S. will probably go fast. Neither the game here nor the All-Star Game is sold out yet. Juventus also faces Real Madrid on Aug. 4 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. — scheduled long before Ronaldo’s move — and Italian rival AS Roma on Aug. 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Now, of course, those games are likely to be even bigger. Just how big will they end up? The soccer world is waiting to find out, and that includes Philadelphia.
Tale of the tape
Some big numbers from Cristiano Ronaldo’s big move:
$413,564,800: The total amount in U.S. dollars Juventus is spending to acquire and pay Ronaldo. (Officially, the deal was done in euros.)
$131,588,800: The transfer fee Juventus is paying to Real Madrid (110 million euros).
$35,247,000: Ronaldo’s contract value per season (30 million euros), for four seasons. In addition to paying that amount to the player, Juventus must pay the same amount to the Italian tax authority.
758: Games played by Ronaldo across all competitions.
571: Goals scored by Ronaldo across all competitions.
450: Goals scored for Real Madrid in 438 games across all competitions, including 311 in 292 Spanish league games.
200: Assists by Ronaldo across all competitions.
120: Goals scored in the UEFA Champions League in his career, for Real Madrid (105) and Manchester United (15) combined over 153 games. He has the most goals ever by any player in the competition. Lionel Messi is second with 100; Raúl is third with 71. Only six players all-time have 50 or more.
15: Major trophies won for club and country (Spanish and English league and cup titles, European club and national team tournaments).
5: UEFA Champions League titles won, four with Real Madrid and one with Manchester United.
5: FIFA Ballon D’Or titles as the world player of the year: 2017, 2016, 2014 and 2013 with Real Madrid, and 2008 with Manchester United.
4: Domestic league scoring titles won: three in Madrid and one in Manchester. He has also been the Champions League’s top scorer in a season five times.
Tale of the titles
Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich have some of the world’s biggest trophy cases:
Real Madrid: 33 Spanish league titles, 19 Spanish Cups, 13 European Cups, 2 UEFA Cups (now known as the Europa League), 4 UEFA SuperCups, 3 Club World Cups, 3 Intercontinental Cups (the predecessor to the Club World Cup)
Juventus: 34 Italian league titles, 13 Italian Cups, 2 European Cups, 3 UEFA Cups, 2 UEFA SuperCups, 1 UEFA Cup-Winners Cup, 2 Intercontinental Cups
Bayern Munich: 28 German league titles, 18 German Cups, 6 German League Cups, 5 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 Cup-Winners Cup, 1 UEFA SuperCup, 1 Club World Cup, 2 Intercontinental Cups