Leaving Madrid was my biggest regret, Panucci warns Ronaldo

Former Real Madrid defender Christian Panucci suggested Cristiano Ronaldo might live to regret his move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Portuguese ace Ronaldo salutes his fans as he arrives to undergo medical checks at the Juventus stadium in Turin, Italy.   -  AP

Former Real Madrid defender Christian Panucci predicted great success for Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus but warned the five-time Ballon d'Or winner that leaving the Santiago Bernabeu was his biggest regret.

Panucci won LaLiga, the Supercopa de Espana, the Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup during his three-year spell in Madrid before moving to Inter, where he struggled to recapture his form and fell out with then coach Marcello Lippi.

The 45-year-old gave a positive assessment of Ronaldo's prospects in Serie A following his €112million move to the champion, but indicated that the Portugal icon might live to regret his decision to leave Madrid.

"When I left Madrid I was convinced," Panucci told El Partidazo de COPE.

'Being a champion in his blood'

"I wanted to leave Madrid and it was the biggest foolishness of my sports career, and I regret it now.

"Cristiano is going to win because he is too good a player not to do it. It's normal madness for Cristiano, he's the best in the world.

"He's a very smart signing who is going to give other great players a push to come to Italy.

"Being a champion is in his blood."

Panucci said that Madrid could be facing a tricky period of transition in the aftermath of Ronaldo's departure, which followed the replacement of three-time Champions League-winning head coach Zinedine Zidane with Julen Lopetegui.

Zidane failed to retain the LaLiga title in 2017-18 after winning it a season earlier, but Panucci said the Frenchman would nevertheless be hard to follow.

"It could be a difficult season for Madrid," he said.

"Zidane is leaving, Cristiano is leaving. It's not easy to substitute them and more after winning three Champions Leagues in a row."

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