Former Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli believes ‘operation Cristiano Ronaldo’ changed the financial landscape for Serie A giants Juventus.
Juventus are in legal trouble with FIGC, UEFA, and the public prosecutor in Turin and have been accused of “financial irregularities, including inflated capital gains and wages paid under the table to hide these costs from the balance sheet.”
The club’s entire board of directors, including president Andrea Agnelli, resigned on Monday to spark a crisis at the Turin-based club.
Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a reported fee of €117m from Real Madrid in 2018. The general idea was to gain more prominence in the Champions League while also building brand value of the club.
However, failure to deliver European success took away the shine from Ronaldo’s move despite the player himself scoring 101 goals in 134 games.
Speaking about Juventus’ current financial tangle and litigation issues, Cobolli Gigli told Il Messaggero newspaper (reported via Football Italia).
“The magistrates will evaluate and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is valid for everyone. Having said that, Juve are certainly tangled up in a series of situations and the problems started a long way back. You see, when Andrea Agnelli became President, it was a positive thing, but also risky for him with that surname and responsibility.”
He then pointed to the moment where Agnelli went wrong with his planning.
“The first phase was very good with the fundamental help of Beppe Marotta to revitalise the team, putting together nine consecutive Serie A titles. But it all changed with the Ronaldo operation.”
Explaining his take on the matter, Gigli said:
“Agnelli was talked into signing Cristiano Ronaldo because it would bring enormous marketing revenue and get Juve closer to the Champions League. However, Marotta did not agree with that at all and he stepped aside. Afterward, the investment in Cristiano Ronaldo proved to be too expensive.
“Meanwhile Fabio Paratici, who had pushed for the CR7 signing, also got Juve into more investments that weighed on the balance sheet and put the club in trouble.”
The Serie A giants have been accused of deferring wage payments. When questioned about the matter, Gigli said:
“I don’t think the capital gains will be an issue, but the delayed payment of wages will be. If there really is this rumoured private contract showing Cristiano Ronaldo is owed €19m, then that would be a smoking gun. But it’s too early to say now, we have to wait and see what the magistrates say. I am also certain John Elkann’s lawyers will find the best approach.”
John Elkann is the head of Exor, the parent company controlling Juventus.
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