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'Ronaldo only wants Juventus' - Paratici explains how deal to sign Portuguese superstar from Madrid happened

10:54 AM WAT 12/02/2019
Cristiano Ronaldo Icardi Juventus Inter Serie A
The Turin outfit brought the forward to Serie A from La Liga last year, but it could have been a vastly different transfer saga instead

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has disclosed how the summer signing of Cristiano Ronaldo finally materialised and that a move for Mauro Icardi was overlooked by the Serie A champions.

The Bianconeri brought the Portuguese star to Turin for €112m (£99m/$111m) following his departure from Real Madrid last year, with the 34-year-old having proven to be an inspired purchase as the club chases domestic and European glory.

Speaking to Gazetta dello Sport however, Paratici stated that they initially were looking to swipe Icardi from rivals Inter, with whom the Argentina international had been struggling to agree fresh terms

The 25-year-old had netted 29 times throughout the 2017-18 campaign, making him an attractive prospect – but Paratici admits there was only one course once Ronaldo entered the reckoning.

"It all started when we played vs Real Madrid in the Champions League," said Paratici.

"I met [agent] Jorge Mendes, like I always do and he told me: you may not believe it but if Cristiano leaves Real he'd want to join Juventus.

"Then I started to study the move. During the talks to close a deal for the phenomenal [Joao] Cancelo, Mendes looked at me and said: remember what we talked about? 

"'If you want him, he is ready'. Then, in our next meeting, I asked Mendes: so what figures are we talking about? 

"He replied: this is the salary and this is the transfer fee. So I told him I would get back to him in a few days, because if I had said no, he would've contacted other clubs. 

"There were hours of extreme tension and energy. Many thoughts started crossed my mind: we have [Gonzalo] Higuain who we'll need to sell, but Ronaldo is a star who will open various channels: technical and commercial.

"Finally I convinced myself that we must at least try. Up to this point, I had not told anything to anyone (at Juventus). 

"I met with Andrea (Agnelli) and Pavel (Nedved) and we all agreed. We must give the entire environment a shock. A positive shock that can project Juventus to a new level. 

"So, I told Agnelli and Nedved: I have an idea...but it is yet to be evaluated, so do not laugh and do not throw yourselves out of the window. 

"There are two ways to galvanise the team: one which I cannot disclose now and the other is to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. 

"The first way? It was to buy Icardi and unleash an incredible fiasco or we can sign Cristiano Ronaldo. 

"I told them: Mendes told me to tell you that if Juve wants Cristiano and meets his demands, he is going to come to Juventus. He does not want anyone else other than Juventus. 

"You must also understand that Andrea is not just a president. He knows football and business very well. And always wants to make Juventus bigger.

"So he said 'give me a moment to think about it'. At that point I was happy I wasn't thrown out of the window! 

"On the same day, during the afternoon, he told me to confirm all the numbers that we had discussed, because if it was like I said it was, we are going to go forward with the operation."

Ronaldo is more than repaying that investment since arriving on Turin, currently leading the Serie A scoring charts with 18 goals.

He has also provided seven assists this season, while he has also helped Juve into the knockout stages of the Champions League for a fifth campaign in a row.

Inter captain Icardi meanwhile has taken his side to third in the Italian top-flight, though has seen his team fall out of Europe’s top club competition and into the Europa League after finishing third in Group B behind Barcelona and Tottenham.

Juve next host Frosinone domestically before they resume their Champions League campaign against Atletico Madrid on February 20 while Inter travel to Rapid Wien on this coming Thursday.