Cristiano Ronaldo has said he decided to leave Real Madrid for Juventus after sensing that the Spanish club’s president, Florentino Perez, no longer saw him as being “indispensable”.
“I felt within the club, especially from the president, that I was no longer considered in the same way as I was at the beginning,” Ronaldo said in an interview with France Football magazine.
“For the first four or five years, I felt like Cristiano Ronaldo. Less so after.
“The president looked at me in a way that suggested I was no longer indispensable, if you know what I mean. That is what made me think about leaving.”
The 33-year-old Portuguese superstar joined Juventus in a 100 million-euro ($115 million) deal in July, ending a glorious nine-year association with Real.
His last act with the Spanish club was to participate in them winning the Champions League for a third consecutive season by beating Liverpool in the final in May.
But Zinedine Zidane departed as coach in the wake of that game, something which Ronaldo admits confirmed to him that it might be time to move on.
“My decision to leave was not based on him going. That said, it was one of the little details that confirmed to me what I had been thinking about the situation at the club,” Ronaldo said.
He added that he would “deserve” to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and in doing so would pass Lionel Messi by taking the award for a sixth time.
The winner of the prize, awarded by France Football, will be announced in early December. But while Ronaldo continues to enjoy great success on the field, scoring twice for Juventus at the weekend, he remains embroiled in off-pitch problems after being accused of rape in the United States.
A former American model Kathryn Mayorga, 34, of Las Vegas, accused Ronaldo in a 32-page complaint filed last month with a district court in Nevada, of raping her in June 2009, just before he joined Madrid from Manchester United.
“Of course this matter interferes with my life. I have a partner, four children, an ageing mother, sisters, a brother, a family with whom I am very close,” he told the magazine.
“That is without talking about my reputation, that of an exemplary person.
“Imagine what that is like to have someone say you are a rapist, or that you have this or that.
“I know who I am and what I did. The truth will come out. And the people who criticise me and who expose my life today, who make a song and dance about it, these people will see.”