Lionel Messi has admitted that he was left surprised by Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to leave Real Madrid and join Juventus this summer.

As reported by Daily Mirror, Lionel Messi has broken his silence on Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus in the summer transfer window. The Barcelona superstar has also claimed that Ronaldo’s departure from the Bernabeu has made Real Madrid considerably weaker for the 2018-19 season.

Ronaldo is a bonafide legend for Real Madrid, following a nine-year stint that saw him win 15 titles, add four Ballon d’Or trophies to his collection and become the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. But, after winning a third successive Champions League title with Los Blancos earlier this year, the Portuguese superstar chose to call it quits at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo joined Juventus in a £105 million deal, in what was one of the most shocking moves in recent years. Those sentiments have been echoed by the 33-year-old’s greatest rival, Lionel Messi, who has admitted that he was left surprised by Ronaldo’s decision to leave Real Madrid.

Messi said, “It surprised me. I didn’t imagine him leaving Madrid or joining Juventus. There were a lot of teams that wanted him. It surprised me, but he has gone to a very good team.”

A transfer that left even his contemporary surprised. (Photo courtesy - Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

A transfer that left even his contemporary surprised. (Photo courtesy – Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Messi also added that Ronaldo’s departure has considerably weakened Real Madrid, while at the same time elevating Juventus to become one of the favourites to win the Champions League title this season.

“Real Madrid are one of the best teams in the world and they have a great squad [but] it’s evident that the absence of Ronaldo makes them less good and makes Juventus [one of the] clear favourites to win the Champions League.”

Indeed, as Ronaldo has shown in recent seasons, he tends to save his best for Champions League football, having finished as the top scorer in the competition in six of the last eight seasons. His goalscoring exploits should certainly bring a cutting edge to the Juventus attack, while potentially leaving Real Madrid short on quality.

However, while Real Madrid have definitely been weakened by Ronaldo’s departure, on paper, it is not showing in their performances on the field, with Julen Lopetegui’s men winning each of their first three games of the season.

Time will tell as to how telling an impact Ronaldo’s exit makes on Real Madrid. For now, Juventus seem to be the big winners in the transfer, as pointed out by the Portuguese superstar’s rival Messi.

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