Spain's media said goodbye to superstar Cristiano Ronaldo while Italy's welcomed him on Friday after persistent reports that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will leave Real Madrid for Italian champions Juventus.
"Ciao CR7" said the headline of Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo. "Real accepts his departure, the key day will be today (Friday) and Juve wants to wrap up the operation so it can announce it," the newspaper said.
Spanish sport newspaper AS said that the player could be unveiled to Juve supporters in Turin as early as Saturday, with the date 7/7 symbolic for number 7 Ronaldo. Juventus "hopes to announce (the news) tomorrow in its stadium," said the paper, which had the headline "Cristiano exit imminent". Ronaldo was applauded at Juventus Stadium by the club's fans last season after scoring a spectacular overhead kick in the Champions League quarter-finals. Italian media welcomed the purported "imminent" arrival of Ronaldo, with Corriere Dello Sport also expecting him in Turin on Saturday.
"Italy is only a step away and Madrid is looking for its new top player," the newspaper said. Gazzetta Dello Sport had the headline "CR7 Juve, we can do it", and said Juventus was "closer than ever to the deal of the century".
Spain's Marca newspaper claimed that Ronaldo has "already given his word to (Andrea) Agnelli" the president of Juventus. "His desire to play for Juve is strong," Marca said, cautioning that the Turin club had not yet received a firm offer from Real Madrid.
The paper also said that while Real maintains Ronaldo's buy-out clause is 1 billion euros ($1.17 billion) - which would nix any potential transfer - "the player and his representatives say there is a signed document freeing him for 100 million". Numerous media outlets have reported since Wednesday that Juventus offered the galactico a four-year contract with 30 million euros per year. Real Madrid has won the La Liga twice and the Champions league four times since Ronaldo moved there from Manchester United in 2009.
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