New challenges, new beginnings

Seeing as it is World Cup year, let’s pause briefly for a detour to the world of football.

It is the end of an era.

Fresh from the Portuguese exit from the World Cup, after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain, football icon Cristiano Ronaldo announced that he is not renewing his contract with Spanish champions Real Madrid for the next season, and will instead join the team they defeated in the Champions League, Juventus instead.

At the age of 33, Ronaldo still commanded a hefty price tag of 99 million. Is it worth it? This is what the media have been asking. But you have to think that he may not have reached his peak yet, or even if he has, he could possibly have one or two years more in him to justify the price tag. And 99 million is not the price they pay for Ronaldo’s services on the pitch. One of the most iconic footballers, drawing attention wherever he goes, thousands of social media followers, in a white and black shirt of Juventus? That has to draw a lot of attention, and be worth a lot. Will sales of shirts go up? Probably.

Juventus have probably decided that within the next two years they will need to make a push to winning the Champions League, and now is the time to do so by getting one of the most important footballers in the world. Ronaldo has probably done enough to make himself known with that amazing bicycle kick last year.

But why did Ronaldo decide to leave Real Madrid? The first reason one can think of is that he had spent enough time at Real Madrid and to improve probably needs a change. We all do. Having spent a long time in one job, means that you start to lost a bit of your edge, a bit of your drive, and get comfortable. The best among us recognise that to keep improving, you need to keep challenging yourself, and finding new environments to do so.

Another reason is perhaps that manager Zinedine Zidane has gone. And why did Zidane go? Was it because of the Real Madrid hierarchy and board meddling with the team? Maybe Ronaldo got fed up of them too, and their courting of Kylian Mbappe and dare we say it – Neymar.

It may be true that if your employer courts a professional with the same skill set as you, he is looking for a younger replacement. You might just as well go before you get pushed. Or perhaps, Ronaldo just need a fresh change – like the pianist Frederic Chopin, who decided to leave Paris after a period of time to visit Majorca. (You can read more about it in the blog of  Piano Teacher Finsbury Park.)

Whatever the case, it seems all parties are winners here. There might be more drama in next year’s Champions League football especially if both teams meet head to head.

Enjoy the summer, everyone!