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Ronaldo lauded as 'the greatest' of the Galacticos signed by Real Madrid president Perez

11:05 BST 28/05/2019
Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Champons League
The Blancos supremo, who is famed for his pursuit of global superstars, admits a Portuguese forward is the best piece of business he has ever done

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez considers Cristiano Ronaldo to be “the greatest player” he has ever signed, with the Portuguese superstar the pick of the ‘Galactico’ additions made by the Blancos.

Across two spells at the Santiago Bernabeu, an enigmatic figurehead has become famed for his pursuit of world-class talent.

Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Kaka and two Ronaldos are just some of those to have been acquired in big-money deals.

All have starred in the Spanish capital in their own way, but one man is considered to have stood head and shoulders above the rest.

A record-breaking fee was required to lure Portugal international Ronaldo away from Manchester United in 2009, and he went on to spend nine stunning years in Madrid.

The 34-year-old departed for Juventus in the summer of 2018, but left having plundered 450 goals in 438 appearances and collected four Champions League crowns, two La Liga titles, three Club World Cup triumphs and four more Ballons d’Or for his personal collection.

Perez told Onda Cero of a mercurial talent and why he moved on: “I assumed he wanted new challenges and he took advantage of that moment to embrace them.

“Cristiano was an exemplary professional who never caused problems.

“He’s the greatest player I ever signed and my relationship with him was always excellent, both as a player and a man. We didn’t have any problems regarding money.

“There were rumours about him wanting to leave because of the tax case, but that’s not the reality of the situation. He wanted a change and to improve his contract, so he found it at Juventus and everyone was happy.”

Real endured a humbling fall from grace in 2018-19 with Ronaldo no longer on their books.

They got through three managers in a matter of months, with Zinedine Zidane eventually brought back to the club less than a year after walking away.

He was unable to deliver a late-season reversal in fortune, with much of the damage having already been done.

It is expected that Madrid will look to overhaul their squad this summer, with a number of comings and goings being mooted.

Wales international Gareth Bale is among those to have been linked with a move elsewhere, having failed to fill the boots of Ronaldo, but Perez insists the blame for the club’s recent struggles cannot be lumped onto any individual player.

He added: “It’s hard to find a replacement for someone like Cristiano, but we had good players anyway, such as Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Vinicius.

“I don’t think that was the problem this season.”