Out of sight out of mind. This was the impression I was left with after the epistolary exchange between Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo, whose move to Juventus has been made official for a sum that sounds a mere trifle in a market where the money flying here, there and everywhere outnumbers truly great players. Madrid might argue that they have made more than they paid for, and been rewarded with Ronaldo’s peak years. Juventus are buying a star at a snip, a player who can get paid the amount he sought because the Italian club didn’t have to bend in the negotiations.
It was no secret that Florentino and Cristiano struggled to tolerate each other and now they go their separate ways. What remains is this epistolary exchange, which does not quite follow Florentino’s wish to make Cristiano publicly and openly explain his departure. That didn’t happen, and what we were left with is an exchange of letters and faint praise that smacked of a less than amicable divorce. I presume the whole thing went through the mill of negotiations between the president, a slippery word sliding down a mudslide, and the club, directors, team-mates, technical staff and workers. Madrid also sent out praise, but between gritted teeth.
So, Cristiano is now a Juve player and right now Lopetegui’s first job is to find a fifty-goals-a-season replacement. It will be an anxious summer. In the meantime, the World Cup hurtles into the final straight. France dispatched Belgium in a tight game which was decided with a (possibly deflected) Umtiti header from a corner. Neither side gave much away and it was notable for Hazard’s unsuccessful attempts to steer the game back in Belgium’s favour, Griezmann’s growing calm, a run or two from Mbappé and a number of set pieces. And not much else.