Thursday July 12 2018
Serie A gets Ronaldomania

Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival is not just a game-changer for Juventus, but for all of Serie A, off the field as much as on it, argues Emmet Gates.

Juventus fans were outraged. The club had again increased the prices of season tickets. This time however, there was a serious hike, with tickets rising by as much as €300. To sit in the Curva, generally amongst the cheapest seats in any stadium in Italy, was now costing in excess of €600, by far and away the highest in Serie A.

Fans protested, and many argued that for the hike in prices they wanted to see a Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi playing in black and white. Fast forward two weeks later and Juve, incredibly, delivered.

The Ronaldo move has inevitably sent shockwaves around the world of football. Mass hysteria like this hasn’t been seen in Calcio since, coincidentally enough, the Brazilian Ronaldo signed for Inter in the summer of 1997 from Barcelona.

Last week, Juve’s shares spiked merely based on speculation of a Ronaldo transfer, when we were far away from any real confirmation. Ronaldo hasn’t even touched down in Turin and already the official online store and club shops around the city have ran out of the letters needed to print his name on the backs of shirts.

This was exactly why the club decided to spend €112m on this most brilliant of 33-year-olds. For aside from the mountain of goals that will surely follow, Ronaldo is a marketing behemoth, a one-man industry. A player with commercial appeal so vast and so far-reaching that if you accumulated every official Juventus account on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and combined their numbers, Ronaldo’s Twitter – alone - would still be ahead by some 23 million. That’s what Juventus are buying and hoping to gain; a gateway to greater mainstream acceptance.

In an era where young fans tend to support players rather than teams, the signing of Ronaldo could well prove to be Beppe Marotta’s finest masterstroke. Nobody in the game, with the exception of Ronaldo contemporary Messi, can move the needle quite like the Portuguese star. His arrival on Serie A shores has the potential to be a seismic game changer not just for Juve, but the league itself.

It’s been 21 years since Serie A signed the world’s best player. Whether you believe Ronaldo to be the best or not is immaterial, the fact remains he is the current Ballon d’Or holder. Many have arrived in Serie A and, over time, morphed into the finest players in the game. Zinedine Zidane, Pavel Nedved, Andriy Shevchenko and Kaka would all become Ballon d’Or winners.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic would become a star in his own, self-aggrandizing way, but you have to go back to original Ronaldo for the last time Italy bought the game’s No.1 at their peak.

The Ronaldo effect has been immediate. Since confirming the deal, Juve’s various social media platforms have increased by a million followers. The Juventus store in Milan is selling a Ronaldo shirt every minute.

Serie A is currently in the middle of negotiations for a new league sponsor. TIM, the Italian telecommunication stalwart that’s sponsored the league since 1998, decided to submit an offer deemed unacceptable by the league.

South Korean giants Samsung and Trenitalia are reported to have expressed an interest in bidding for the rights. With Ronaldo now on board, the league’s in a strong bargaining position to demand increasingly more money for the naming rights. Ronaldo, above all else, will undoubtedly bring more eyeballs to the product.

Ronaldo’s arrival could entice further stars to cast their glances over a league that many felt lost its lustre 15 years ago. Napoli’s appointment of Carlo Ancelotti, in itself a brilliant coup, combined with Roma’s recent resurgence and Inter finally resembling some measure of stability after making the Champions League for the first time in six years, and you’re left with a league that is very much regaining its prestige.

On the pitch, we know what Ronaldo will guarantee: goals, but his goals are just one facet of the overall picture. Juve are desperate to win that third, elusive Champions League trophy. The drought now stands at a frankly ridiculous 22 years. Zbigniew Boniek was once coined ‘Bello di notte’ (beauty of the night) by the legendary Gianni Agnelli, due to his performances under the lights in European games. No one shines brighter mid-week than Ronaldo. The Champions League is his arena of torment.

Whether he can bring the trophy back to Turin remains to be seen. As Juve will attest, winning the Champions League involves huge slices of luck, and not just a finely constructed squad.

But one thing is certain, Juventus will gain exposure like never before, and that’s what the club seeks, and what they’re ultimately gambling the house with.

Ronaldomania has only just started.

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Have your say...
@50 shades of juventus, some of the stuff you said was funny, but don't get too proud of yourselves Juve, you've spent big money and breathed new life into serie A and thank you for that but both Milan clubs will win the champions league again before Juve does, it is not in your destiny, you can't buy fate or fight it or change it! The champions league home in Italy is at the San Siro....kneel before that!
on the 19th July, 2018 at 3:00pm

Arrogance is a luxury. You will not have that as you are routinely made to submit to juventus year after year after year.

Juve wipe their muddy feet on your shirts and there is nothing you can do about it. But hey don't worry, you have Gattuso lol. Maybe he can perform another miracle and outplay arsenal....oh wait...I forgot arsenal absolutely pistol whipped Milan all over the stadium whilst Milan went running back to their changing rooms fighting over who gets to wax their legs first
on the 16th July, 2018 at 1:37pm
Been a Juventino since 1995. Certainly didn't become a fan because I am "Jealous", that is some seriously illogical reason to be a fan of anything, but only @PrimoCalcio would think of something like that. Anyway, good luck to Milan this upcoming season. May the best team win.
on the 15th July, 2018 at 7:26pm
If I was jealous I would simply become a Juve fan like you gloryhunters lol. You're the ones who can't handle a simple criticism let alone banter. I know better to engage trolls who, even despite their team's unbridled domination, are not happy unless they're insulting those currently less fortunate. Probably because in real life you are terribly inadequate and must resort to pitiful attempts at bullying and trolling online to make yourselves feel better. Observe, the "class" of Juve fans.
on the 15th July, 2018 at 5:36pm

You’re right, I am arrogant. Is that supposed to have some form of desired effect to get Juve fans to stop laughing at you and your team for being losers?

I’ll continue being arrogant. Why? Because I can and my team give me a reason to be. If you’re hurt over being beneath us all the time then perhaps you should gather your loser fans and support your team to make it rise to the top like we did for Juve.

Don’t be jealous, it’s an ugly trait. If you can’t handle the banter, get lost.
on the 15th July, 2018 at 10:50am
@PrimoCalcio You are the one who brought up arrogance into the discussion. You ask yourself the question if you're not being bias when it comes to judging fanbase. I brought up Bonucci cause he is the prime example as to your hypocritical attempt. I guess I now know what sort of a character you are, and it is probably impossible to carry on with a rational discussion. But its alright, I'm not here for this. I am just a Juve fan and enjoying every bit of all these successful years.
on the 15th July, 2018 at 8:57am
@opt You're a troll dude. Who brought up Bonucci? You. Because you're a condescending Juve fan who's upset someone pointed out the arrogance of a certain section of Juve supporters. And you keep proving my point that you are one of them with your "butthurt", "Bonucci", and "arrogant Milan fans" comments.
Most Juve fans do have class so I will not generalize them all together. Maybe you should learn from them.
on the 15th July, 2018 at 12:00am
@PrimoCalcio I take it that you're a Milan fan. Shall we then discuss Bonucci as being the best defender? Let's not pretend to be non-provocative. No party is innocent. Why don't you criticize your side of fans then for acting arrogant?
on the 14th July, 2018 at 9:13pm
@Opt How is claiming Pogba would make Juve the UCL favourite "taking a swipe" at him?? really?
SMS is a world class talent linked to Madrid & Juve who is worth 150m euros on the current market.
Apparently personally preferring him to a former Juve player makes me a Juve hater.
This is the arrogant attitude I've referred to. A Milan fan likes SMS more than Pogba? Must be another pathetic hater.
on the 14th July, 2018 at 7:32pm
I think Marchisio has more on the pitch to offer as an anchor man and why pjanic can be given slightly advanced role. I don't understand his love for Khedira. I hope khedira goes to the bench and even sold.
on the 14th July, 2018 at 3:13pm
There is no doubt Allegri is a master tactician. But some of his decisions baflle me e g not playing Rugani regularly yet he is the best man marker Italian style defender since the era of Nesta and Cannavaro. To me he has more natural talent than chiellini but chiellini has of course more experience. I don't think Caldara is better than Rugani. Benatia should be sold and give young Italian centre backs more playing time. Allegri also sold of Pirlo in Milan as washed out. . . Pirlo?!
on the 14th July, 2018 at 3:10pm
Juve are paying for Ronaldo in 2 equal annual installments of €50M.Rhis is brilliant because it means we can Roy with the idea of getting Pogba back. If we can pay man u €75M in 2 equal installments, then trade Higuain for Morata, we are in serious business!
on the 14th July, 2018 at 3:01pm
Honestly, tell me you ain't being butthurt and need take a swipe at Pogba just because he once played for Juve. If being a pivot to a team now in the World Cup Final is lesser than SMS, then SMS must be a god to you. I'm just going to straight up point it out to you that the only Italian team capable of affording SMS at his current value is none other than Juventus. So don't be surprised if both of them ended up in Juve. And if I have to pick one, I'll take Pogba any day any time.
on the 14th July, 2018 at 11:19am
Don't feel any fans think that they have special ability to decide the direction a club is going, unless they are major shareholders, but you cannot deny the fans do sway the decision of management. If no Juve fans love CR7, it would be silly for the club to purchase such a player. Afterall, how a club can run profitably is to sell to the fans. Every team demanded to be as successful as Juve, but you have to be realistic. Current Parma can never buy CR7, I'm not undermining them, but just truth.
on the 14th July, 2018 at 11:06am
If Juve manages Ronaldo, Cancelo, Caldara, and brings back Pogba for less than they sold him for... they'd have to be favourites for the UCL I'd think.
SMS > Pogba imo but SMS is probably too expensive at this point.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 11:25pm
Examples of the arrogant Juve fans would be BOSS and 50 Shades.
And I'm not hating on Ronaldo or Juve, in fact i'm quite excited.
Also i'm not denying the essential role of fans in a football club either, but pointing out there is no special quality inherent to Juve fans that drives their team to success. All fans support their team.
For example, Milan fans demand the same level success as Juve fans do, but do they get it? No. Why? Management.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 11:22pm

We already have the poorer equivalent of the German league and have for the last seven years. Actually the german league is more competitive and Bayern are better than Juve. So not quite sure what you are watching. The Italian league is boring. It's the only league where a 3-2 game is made to be boring. It's quite a skill now that I think about it, or just lazy. Too much focus on waxing their legs than playing manly physical football I think.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 2:00pm

We were not seriously challenged. After 7 years complacency and boredom set in and yet we still managed to win the league. We started giving games away to lame teams like SPAL and Napoli still couldn't do jack. No team can. Last season was Juve in cruise control and it was Napoli at their god damn best. Imagine what we could actually do if we felt like it and had someone to push us.

We have it in the CL but unfortunately Juve love being dominated by Spanish and English men so don't perform
on the 13th July, 2018 at 1:53pm
I still remember the darker times, which btw for Conte's first Scudetto was down to Inter doing us a favour and beating Milan.

7 Scudetti is not boring. It's not underappreciated. Not one minute passes without remembering how much effort was put into each campaign, let alone less successful ones before it. CR7 is huge and losing CL finals hurt. Both pale in comparison to MY7H (stupid? Eh, still like it).
on the 13th July, 2018 at 1:24pm
You have got to hand it to Juventus as whether you like them or not this is huge. Midfield still needs improvement but the purchase of Cancelo is fantastic also. If they do get Marcelo and another quality midfielder then I feel champions league is within their grasp. Not sure about the Messi/CR7 GOAT label as imo not as good as Baggio not to talk of Pele, Zz and Maradona but its their era and they have benefitted from real slack defending espcially in la Liga. Huge statement by Juve thou Kudos.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 12:10pm
@PrimaCalcio. I agree that all the decision making, planning, playing, training, etc. are done by the the club hierarchy, from the board of directors down to the lowliest ball boy, but you cannot be more wrong with regards to the importance of the fans. while no single group of fans is greater than the club, no club is greater than the fans. the fans are the life blood of a club. no fans equals empty stadiums, no merchandising revenue, pitiful tv rights, and no sponsor. in short, no income.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 4:47am
On a side note, Serie A rarely bought the best player in the world because, simply, he was usually already playing in Serie A (until the Messi-Ronaldo era) , and wouldn't be considered so if he wasn't, you dig? Name any other league that did buy the -then- best player in the world, I can't think of any. Weak point.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 4:15am
On a side note, Serie A rarely bought the best player in the world because, simply, he was usually already playing in Serie A (until the Messi-Ronaldo era) , and wouldn't be considered so if he wasn't, you dig? Name any other league that did buy the -then- best player in the world, I can't think of any. Weak point.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 4:15am
Good point @PrimoCalcio. Juve fans, congrats on your mgmt (which you didn't elect by the way) and I hope as a Milan fan we'll get as lucky one day, you won the lottery this time, like we did so many years ago. The important thing is, we need a healthy league regardless of whom we support. When a few teams rise, others will follow, when only one team rises, we get a Bundisliga. Ronaldo in Serie A is great, hopefully the next big transfer will be in different colors. For now, thank you Juve mgmt.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 3:21am
if Juve now go on to add Marcelo and Pogba at the expense of Sandro, Higuain and Rugani then wow what a transfer window, theyve been the kings of the market in recent years. It is frustrating to see some clubs in the league paying 20M plus for their useless youth players though, I cant believe Cerri went for what he did.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 1:28am
Italy now needs stadiums... most are pathetically decrepit
on the 12th July, 2018 at 9:36pm
You are right that the fans didn't win 7 scudetti or make a player transfer possible. The players did, the management did, the club make them possible. We acknowledged. However, I never recalled Juve fans ever criticized Napoli's Maradona, Inter's Ronaldo or Milan's Ronaldinho. As players they are legends. So why the hate against CR7 move to Juve? One thing I can be proud of my Juventino brothers and sisters is our act of class, and you have a lot to learn from us in that department.
on the 12th July, 2018 at 9:12pm
@PrimoCalcio Looking through the comments I can easily find more than half including yours criticizing Juventus, the fans, and swearing and cursing Ronaldo, and none shows any sign of Juventus fan acting arrogant or even bragging. I am curious to know who are you exactly referring to and why the obsession against Juve fans, but not the negative comments toward Juve? I got to say, something is seriously wrong with you guys. The Ronaldo's impact is so strong that your screws gone loose.
on the 12th July, 2018 at 9:02pm

It’s the pressure from the fans that led to the signing of ronaldo so yes we do feel personally involved. Just like you would feel personally involved if whichever lame Italian team you support could actually win something.

How does 8 years without a real trophy feel? Bitter I suspect.
on the 12th July, 2018 at 8:06pm
@50 Shades of Juventus: Absolutely disagree with your point on Serie A. Last season we were seriously challenged and only a last second Higuain goal against Inter saved our asses. The quality of the Serie A teams was shown in Europa last season. Roma topping that scary group and going all the way to semis to be butchered by the ref. Atalanta playing lovely football in Europe too. Shame Sarri was a coward. They could easily win the Europa League. Serie A is competitive.
on the 12th July, 2018 at 7:36pm

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