July 10 (UPI) — Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to a transfer on Tuesday to Serie A club Juventus.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored 451 goals in 438 games for the La Liga power. Real Madrid said the move came as a response to the “will and request expressed” by Ronaldo.
“Today, 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 team said in a release.
“Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies achieved and the triumphs achieved in the playing fields during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement.”
Ronaldo, 33, helped Madrid win 16 titles, including four European Cups. He penned a letter to his fans after the news broke of his departure.
“These years in Real Madrid, and in this city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life,” he wrote on the team website.
“I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for this hobby 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.”
Several of Ronaldo’s former teammates wished him well.
“Cristiano, your goals, your numbers and everything we’ve won together speak for themselves,” Sergio Ramos tweeted. “You have earned a special place in the history of Real Madrid. As Madridistas we’ll remember you always. It’s been a pleasure to play alongside you, bicho. Big hig and good luck!”
Juventus battles Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup on Aug. 4 at FedExField in Landover, Md.