Cristiano Ronaldo announced he would be leaving Real Madrid to join Juventus on Tuesday afternoon after nine trophy-laden seasons at the European champions.
The Portuguese superstar, who arrived at the Bernabéu for a world record fee in 2009, moved to the Italian champions for a reported fee of 105 million euros after breaking Real Madrid's scoring record and landing four Ballons d'Or and four Champions League titles during his Bernabéu career.
Cristiano Ronaldo's farewell letter to Real Madrid
These years at Real Madrid, and in the city of Madrid, have been probably the happiest of my life.
I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for these fans and for this city. I can only thank them all for the love and affection they have given me.
However, I believe the time has come to embark on a new stage in my life and for this reason I have I asked the club to allow me to leave. I apologise for this and ask everybody, and especially the club’s fans, to please understand me.
These have been nine wonderful years, nine unique years. It has been a thrilling time for me, although it has also been hard because of the huge demands of Real Madrid, but I am fully aware that I will never forget that I have enjoyed playing football here in a completely unique way.
I have had fabulous teammates in the dressing room and on the pitch, I have felt the passion of an incredible set of fans and together we have won three consecutive Champions Leagues and four in five years. And as well as that, at an individual level, I have the satisfaction of having won four Ballons d’Or and three Golden Boots. All of this has been achieved during my career at this huge and extraordinary club.
Real Madrid has won a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family, and for that I want more than ever to say thank you: thank you to the club, to the president, to the board, to my teammates, to all the coaches, physios and amazing employees that make everything work and who are tirelessly attentive to every detail.
My infinite thanks again to our fans and also to Spanish football. During these nine years I have played against some of the greatest players in the world. I also send my respect and recognition to them.
I have spent a long time reflecting and I have decided that the time has come for a new stage in my life. I am leaving but this shirt, this crest and the Santiago Bernabéu will continue to feel a part of me wherever I may be.
Thank you to everyone and of course, as I said on that first occasion in our stadium nine years ago: “Hala Madrid!”