Cristiano Ronaldo is not just a player, but rather a global brand
Turin, 3 April 2018: it all starts here. Cristiano Ronaldo just scored the second goal for Real Madrid, a bicycle kick recently voted UEFA Goal of the Season. The subsequent standing oviation from Juventus supporters was the spark that led CR7 to land into the Italian stadiums.
Yet, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli was prophetic back in 2014 when, during a shareholders’ meeting, said that in five years, thanks to the revenues from the newly owned Juventus Stadium, the club would have the opportunity to afford the best players in the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo. And it did.
A war machine
Contrary to dozens of football stars who, after winning it all in Europe, decide to winter in the rich Asian leagues or to become the personal whim of some Arabic emir, Cristiano Ronaldo picked one of the European historic leagues, the Italian Serie A. Here, he wants to prove himself and show a football-mad public (as even Winston Churchill famously remarked), that his physical condition and resilience can persist over the years, becoming so the unquestioned symbol of the modern footballer.
Choosing Juventus wasn’t random: indeed, the club from Turin dominated Italian football during the last seven years, having won seven championships, four Italy Cups and three Italian Supercups. CR7, since the Manchester United days when he was trained by nothing less than Sir Alex Ferguson, always took the best for himself. Five times Baloon d’Or and UEFA Champions League winners, he made history in Real Madrid by holding up the long awaited Décima Champions League with Carlo Ancelotti as manager, this year on Napoli bench, Juventus’ main opponent for the Scudetto.
CR7, the global brand
The importance of being Cristiano Ronaldo is also demonstrated by his worldwide popularity, to the point where in Madeira, his native island in Portugal, they named the international airport after him, an honor that never went to a sportsman and that is rarely reserved for living people. The city of Funchal, birthplace of CR7, after the legendary Portuguese victory in Euro 2016 against the hosts France, opened a museum entirely dedicated to the striker, with a high bronze statue of him overlooking the sea. Therefore, Juventus did not buy just a player, but rather a global brand, relaunching its own image through a number of important related projects.
In Turin, now orphan of the FIAT factory, the new goal of the Agnelli family is to turn the city from an automotive hub to a sports industry jewel, by renewing the Juventus brand to get more fans, sponsors and investors from all over the world. To complement this strategy, even the old team crest was recently redisegned without any reference to the city, but with just a stylized ‘J’, for its more immediate use through the social networks. Just like CR7.
Furthermore, the ambitious plans for the so-called “J-Village”, a citadel completely dedicated to the world of Juventus, are without equal in Italy: a huge area adjacent to the Allianz Stadium which contains the head office, the brand-new training center, now home of the new Juventus youth (Juventus U23) and women teams, the World International School, enabling the youngsters to continue their studies in parallel with their sports career, the exclusive J-Hotel and the Concept Store, a multi-purpose facility for educational and entertainment activities.
Finally, there’s a fair chance to see in the near future the launch of the Juventus brand also in the world of basketball, following the model of the most popular European sports clubs, such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Cska Moscow, Red Star, Partizan Belgrade, Olympiakos, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, where Cristiano Ronaldo came on to the football scene in a major way, back in 2002.
A deal for both Juventus and Serie A
Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer then represents for Juventus a sensational sporting and marketing operation, so much that the Portuguese may become the next poster child for the best Italian car manufacturer, also part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group: Ferrari. Indeed, the love of CR7 for the Red was already well gossiped, as in his luxury car fleet the Prancing Horse never missed, including the limited edition Ferrari F12TDF.
Moreover, Cristiano Ronaldo will play the important role of making Serie A a spectacular league again, the same competition where, until a few decades ago, the world’s best players and several Baloons d’Or, from Michel Platini to Marco Van Basten, walking past Lothar Matthäus, Hristo Stoičkov and Zinédine Zidane, until Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima and Luís Figo, dominated the scene.
Behind Cristiano, Juventus is also hiding the ultimate aim of gaining affection, as the bianconeri, in addition to being the most supported football team in Italy, are also the most hated by the other fans. The presence of a star like Cristiano Ronaldo may have the indirect effects of sweetening the team’s reception in every stadium and packing the house everywhere, as it already happened for the first Juventus away matches of this season. At the same time, the hope of Juventus is to channel the Italian support in UEFA competitions by triggering a sense of national unity, as when the greatest foreigner Formula 1 drivers used to lead Ferrari to triumph everywhere.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be a reference point not only for Juventus, but also for his opponents. Indeed, in accordance with the rule that a star player needs other champions to keep up with his best performances, the other Italian football teams haven’t weakened; on the contrary, some of them (like Inter) actually did a sumptuous transfer market. Even the crosstown rivals, Torino, often overshadowed by Juventus, kept their best footballers in the rosters. The importance of being Cristiano Ronaldo is this too: making himself and the others face new challenges. And he’s already doing a great job.