Fabio Paratici explained how Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus place, revealing Jorge Mendes told him CR7 ‘wants to join Juve’.
“When we played in Madrid, Mendes came over to us like it usually happens on Champions League matchdays,” Paratici told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I told him, ‘Cristiano’s scored some incredible goals.’ I still had in my eyes, with admiration and pain, the comeback.
“He looks at me and replies: ‘You won’t believe it but Cristiano, if he changes teams, wants to join Juve. Keep in mind it’s less strange than you may think. We’ll talk about it later.’
“I thought about making a sudden outburst, but I started to think about it. I found myself at Linate’s private flight airport with Mendes and Giovanni Branchini to close a deal for the phenomenon Cancelo, which was a no-brainer.
“Mendes looked at me again. Now it was clear that he was serious: ‘Remember the other thing, you’ll see Ronaldo leave Madrid. I’ll tell you clearly: the player only wants to sign for Juve. He played for Manchester United, who are the biggest English team, then Real Madrid. He only plays for teams with history. He’s never played in Italy, he wants to win the Italian title too. If you want him, he’s there.’
“I told him: ‘Okay, in that case tell me a little about what we’re talking about.’ Of course, I hadn’t forgotten about what he told me and I certainly wanted Ronaldo.
“I arrived there prepared. I thought, ‘if he speaks again I want to see, like in poker, what cards he has in his hand.’
“’This is the salary, this is the transfer fee,’ he says. ‘Let me take a few days to think and then I’ll give you an answer.’
“They were hours of extreme tension and energy. Many thoughts started crossed my mind: ‘We have Higuain who we’ll need to sell, but Ronaldo is star who will open various channels: technical & commercial.’ Finally I convinced myself that we must at least try.
“Up to this point, I had not told anything to anyone (at Juve). Then we (Juve management) had a meeting in June and I thought about Buffon leaving, the team having won 7 Scudetti, and having had a tough Champions League exit: so something had to be done to motivate the squad.
“Football is technique but also passion. It requires talent but also a mentality. So 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 Juve over certain limits.
“So I told Andrea and Pavel: ‘I have an idea…and it is yet to be evaluated, so do not laugh and do not throw yourselves out of the window. There are 2 ways to motivate the team: one which I cannot disclose now & the other is to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
“The first way? It was to buy Mauro Icardi and unleash an incredible fiasco..or we can sign Cristiano Ronaldo. Andrea looked at me & smiled. I immediately told him: wait, let me explain. Because at that point no one believed that CR7 can be signed for the amount Mendes told me.’
“So I told Andrea and Pavel: ‘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. There’s no option B. He only wants Juve.’
“There was silence. 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 the window!.
“In 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.”
Translation from Tarek Khatib.