Ronaldo a goal machine and money-making machine for ambitious Juventus

Juventus takes on Manchester United — the world's richest club and where Ronaldo became a star — in Turin on Wednesday knowing a draw will seal its place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The news recently has been as much about the rape allegations in the United States, which Ronaldo himself has strongly denied.   -  Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo's reputation has been tarnished by allegations of rape, but Juventus still believes that he will help the Italian giant to reduce the financial gap between it and the world's very biggest clubs.

Juventus takes on Manchester United — the world's richest club and where Ronaldo became a star — in Turin on Wednesday knowing a draw will seal its place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

It is counting on 'CR7' as it looks to win the Champions League for the first time since 1996 — it has lost five finals since then, including in 2015 and 2017. Ronaldo, now 33, has won the trophy five times himself.

“Financially, it has been a very rational move. The lifetime value of a player extends longer than his biological age,” financial expert Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffe said.

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“On the pitch, he's one of the best. Ronaldo also makes the news, he gives visibility, conversation, discussion...raises your intangible value.”

The news recently has been as much about the rape allegations in the United States, which Ronaldo himself has strongly denied, insisting he is “an example, 100 per cent on and off the pitch”.

But, Juve president Andrea Agnelli — who has orchestrated their domination in Italy since taking over the family-owned club in 2010 — believes “the Ronaldo effect” can propel the “Old Lady of Turin” into another stratosphere.

“We are fully convinced that Ronaldo is an added value in every respect, in terms of business, and will facilitate our global expansion,” said Agnelli, who wants to target the US, Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.

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According to the Deloitte Football Money League, Juventus is tenth in Europe with annual revenues of €405.7 million ($463 million) in 2017, with only three Italian clubs featuring in the top 20.

Manchester United tops the list on €676.3 million ahead of Real Madrid (€674.6m) and Barcelona (€648.3m). On the pitch, Ronaldo has made an impact, scoring seven goals in the champions' best-ever start to a Serie A season. It is on track for an eighth consecutive league title.

Carnevale Maffe believes that Juventus can only gain despite the high price of a deal estimated to cost €340 million in total over four years, on top of the €110 million transfer fee.

“When you are so close to success, all the planning, all the strategy may not be enough...the touch of genius is needed, and Ronaldo has that,” added Carnevale Maffe, who lectures in Corporate Strategy at Milan's Bocconi School of Management.

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'Robust'

Since Ronaldo-fever gripped Juventus, the club's share price jumped from €0.69 on July 3, to €1.672 on September 19.

But, it then dropped 34 per cent, starting to slide after his red card in the Champions League against Valencia, followed by the emergence of rape allegations in the United States.

While Ronaldo has denied the claims, two of his sponsors, Nike and EA Sports, said they were “closely monitoring” what Nike called “disturbing allegations”.

“There is always an element of random events, unpredictable elements. Players are physically fragile, but business-wise, Ronaldo is one of the most robust assets,” said Carnevale Maffe.

The real hope is that Ronaldo will not only help Juventus win the Champions League, but attract lucrative commercial deals that will make the Italian club number one in the world.

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The father of four has over 323.4 million followers across all social media platforms and is now the most followed person on Instagram with 145 million.

Since his arrival, the club's following on social media has increased from 49 million to 62 million. It says that it is already on track for record Ronaldo kit sales for the season, with the black and white shirts costing up to €150 each.

Juventus also increased the price of season tickets by 30 per cent, while talks with Ronaldo were still secret, with all 29,300 sold.

Their 41,507-seat stadium is not as big as other leading European clubs so finding extra revenue not generated from ticket sales is all the more important.

But, audit group KPMG has estimated the “Ronaldo effect” will see Juve's revenue jump to €500 million in the next two to three seasons.

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