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Madrid pave the way for Cristiano exit to avoid further damage

The World Cup is back, and with two appetising matches, but also upon us is news of the imminent departure of Cristiano to Juve, on the verge of being consummated as I write these words. I believe he is the greatest player I've seen at Madrid since Di Stéfano, but now it is all over. Florentino has opened the door, allowing him to leave for a quantity that is not really mind-blowing today, and the player has accepted the challenge. He will earn the same amount that Madrid were willing to offer, raising his current salary up to 30 million clean. But to Cristiano this felt like an insult, a price of 100 million (only 20 more than Morata a year ago) and he'd prefer not to remain at a club where he feels affronted.

FBL-ESP-POR-ENG-REAL-MADRID-RONALDOJuly 6, 2009 | Real Madrid's new player Cristiano Ronaldo applauds next to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, Alfredo Di Stefano and Eusebio.

Florentino and Cristiano unease

It has been a lengthy clash of egos between two high profile characters. Florentino never took it well that Cristiano's signing was not his, but that of his predecessor, Calderón. He has never looked to disguise his preference for Benzema and Bale, and Cristiano has never felt the same affection from the president that Messi has had at Barcelona, no matter how many goals he scored or Ballons d'Or he won. So, it is maybe unsurprising that he crosses to pastures new before further harm is done, and for a relatively low fee considering his attributes. Both he and Florentino want to move out of each other's gaze.

Replacement | PSG pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are being touted as potential successors to Cristiano's throne.

Ronaldo exit opens new doors 

In other respects, and my colleague Tomás Roncero will not agree, I think it's a good time for Cristiano to leave Madrid. At 33, he was not going to progress any further. Madrid signed him for 96 million, he departs for a hundred and leaves behind his nine best years including 450 goals in 438 games. His exit will open the doors to possibly Neymar or Mbappé, or perhaps the message to Bale, with no excuses, is to go and demonstrate whether or not he can be the club's 'star player'. One curtain falls and Lopetegui's first task is to raise it again while compensating for the goals that are lost in the absence of Cristiano, who will be remembered as a club legend. Madrid now have to open the chequebook, because goals are always more expensive.