Cristiano Ronaldo has said he chose to leave Real Madrid for Juventus after sensing that the Spanish club’s president, Florentino Perez, no longer saw him as being “indispensable”.
“I felt within the club, especially in the president, that I was no longer believed in exactly the same way as I was at the start,” Ronaldo said in an interview with France Football magazine.
Less so after.
“The president looked at me in a way that suggested I was no more critical, if you know what I mean. That is what made me think about leaving. ”
The 33-year-old Portuguese superstar joined Juventus in a 100 million-euro ($115 million) deal in July, ending a glorious nine-year association with Real.
His final act with the Spanish club was to take part in them winning the Champions League for a third consecutive season by beating Liverpool in the final in May.
But Zinedine Zidane departed as trainer in the aftermath of this game, something that Ronaldo admits confirmed to him that it may be time to proceed.
“My decision to leave was not based on him going. Having said that, it was one of those little details that confirmed to me what I was thinking about the situation at the club,” Ronaldo said.
He added he would “deserve” to win the Ballon d’Or this season, and in doing this would pass Lionel Messi by taking the award for a sixth time.
The winner of this prize, given by France Football, will be announced in early December. But while Ronaldo continues to enjoy great success on the field, scoring twice for Juventus at the weekend, he remains embroiled in off-pitch problems after being accused of rape in the United States.
A former American version Kathryn Mayorga, 34, of Las Vegas, accused Ronaldo at a 32-page complaint filed last month with a district court in Nevada, of raping her in June 2009, before he joined Madrid from Manchester United.
“Of course this matter interferes with my life. I have a spouse, four kids, an ageing mother, sisters, a brother, a family with whom I am very close,” he told the magazine.
“This is without talking about my reputation, that of an exemplary individual.
“Imagine what that’s like to have someone say you are a rapist, or that you have this or that.
“I know who I am and what I did. The facts will come out. And the men and women who criticise me and who expose my life now, who create a song and dance about it, those people will see. ”