By now, we’ve all heard the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has left Real Madrid and joined Juventus. For Serie A fans who don’t back Newcastle junior, it feels like the sort of crushingly inevitable destiny you’d expect in Sophocles: overwhelming and inescapable. The only difference is that this isn’t the result of anyone’s hubris but Juve’s.
On the pitch, it could backfire spectacularly. Mario Mandžukić occupies a similar role for the Bianconeri as a wide forward who attacks crosses. Paulo Dybala, fresh off a World Cup in which he barely played, may not want to play second fiddle to another multiple Ballon d’Or winner and could be sold. Between the expected sale of Gonzalo Higuaín and the possible offloading of Dybala to finance the Ronaldo move, the Juvenuts could end up weaker than they were last year, especially having sold Daniele Rugani, who was expected to step in when age inevitably slows down Giorgio Chiellini, to Chelsea.
That’s the hope for Fiorentina fans, anyways, especially when you take into account the €30 million salary Ronaldo requires. Over the purported 3- to 4-year contract, that’s a whole lot of wages. It’s hard to see how the Bianconeri could possibly avoid a breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations under these circumstances.
Aaaaand here’s where it gets very Juve-y. The Turin outfit is getting Ferrari as a sponsor and have floated the idea of having the luxury car maker pay Cristiano’s wages. It’s the sort of corporate play that big teams make the world over, but it feels like a pitch-perfect Juventus move, especially since it’s a legal and ethical grey area, particularly when you consider that there are whispers that Ronaldo (no stranger to fraud allegations), could accept a lower salary to avoid FFP penalties while arranging for a Fiat/Ferrari “endorsement” to make up the difference.
If it happens, nothing much changes for Fiorentina. Juve will remain a step or two above them with or without Cristiano Ronaldo. But seeing the Bianconeri get away with such financial skulduggery is a stinging reminder of how the haves bludgeon the have-nots with the power structures they’ve spent decades cultivating to ensure that they remain at the top of the heap, regardless of the rule book. It’s yet another example of Juve flaunting their power: the two extra stars above the crest, the underhanded efforts to snake Federico Bernardeschi (enjoy trying to jump your new teammate on the depth chart, by the way), the general assumption that they’re the only team in Italy that matters. And there’s not anything Fiorentina, or anyone else in Italy, can do about it, other than whine to the FFP committee that something isn’t right. Sometimes, being a fan means swallowing some really bitter medicine, and this is one of those times.