"Cristiano is getting on a bit; it's a dangerous move by Juventus"

Napoli president gave his verdict on the ‘signing of the century’: “I ask myself whether it will be more of a commercial success than a sporting one”


Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has given his thoughts on the so-called ‘signing of the century’ - Cristiano Ronaldo's summer move to Juventus, in an interview with La Veritá. “Cristiano is getting on a bit now. To maintain some kind of balance, it's very dangerous for a club to spend so much money on just one player - one who is reaching the end of his career”. De Laurentiis highlighted the risks involved in such an operation - one of the biggest of its kind in Italy over the past few years. “His salary is totally off the scale for Juve's means. I wonder whether it will be more of a commercial success than a sporting one. If you start paying crazy wages, sooner or later, it will start going against you”.

Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Turin yesterday.

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However, the Napoli president admitted that looking at it another way, he can fully understand the decision taken by the Juve board to give the green light to a marquee signing: “In terms of publicity, Juve have pulled off a great move for the Fiat-Chrysler group. It also masks some of the disillusion among the fans - without a big name siging, after having won the last seven league titles, what promises can you give the fans - and the sponsors, to get them excited? I admit that signing Cristiano was a great idea”.

"Cristiano will make you a rich man"

De Laurentiis went on to reveal that Jorge Mendes contacted him to see whether Napoli would be interested in Cristiano: “Ronaldo has got a very smart agent. As soon as it became apparent that Madrid were going to sell him, Mendes called me and said: “Are you interested in doing business?”. He told me that Ronaldo would make me rich - so I made him an offer - that the first 250 million Cristiano brought in would be for Napoli and the next 100 million would be for the player. That way, CR7 would have paid for himself. Then Juve appeared and that was when the bidding started”.

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri

Pop at Sarri

Finally, De Laurentiis had a few words to say about Napoli's ex-coach Maurizio Sarri, who is now with Chelsea: “I only let him go once he had signed a contract which stated he would not be allowed to sign any of our players - apart from Jorginho. There was a huge battle to take more of our players but they didn't manage it. Did I say he is a genius? Yes, but he's also very set in his ways. He would only use the same 11-13 players and it's impossible to compete in two competition when you do that. A real, bona fide coach has to win things - not just entertain”.