TURIN, Italy – Portugal and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo said on Tuesday that he did not regret leaving Spain, where he played for nine years as a Real Madrid forward.
The 34-year-old left the La Liga powerhouse in July to join the Serie A giant.
This season has been quite good so far for the striker, he has scored a total of 21 goals across all competitions.
“I do not find it difficult to adapt to a different country or culture. I do not miss Spain or Portugal, things are as they are. Obviously, I left many friends and a great club, but I do not miss the country itself,” Ronaldo told Dazn TV.
“I have always lived away from home since I was 11 years old. I have no problems adapting to another country. I went to England (to play to Manchester United) when I was 18, to Madrid when I was 25 and to Turin when I was 33,” he added.
Ronaldo needs to give his best performance later Tuesday as he is set to lead his side in a Champions League comeback effort against Spain’s Atletico Madrid after losing to the Spanish side 2-0 in their round of 16 first leg encounter Feb. 20 at Atletico’s home pitch, Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
“It will be a difficult game. Atletico has played in two Champions League finals in recent years. We know it will be difficult but if we play well then we will advance,” he stated.
Juventus won the Seria A and Coppa Italia in the past four consecutive years, however, the Turin squad lost two CL finals against the two La Liga powerhouses of Barcelona (2014-2015) and Real Madrid (2016-2017).
It comes after a regional Madrid court handed Ronaldo a 23-month prison sentence and ordered him to pay an 18.8 million euro ($21.2 million) fine for tax evasion on Jan. 22.
The world-renowned soccer player will not spend time behind bars, as prison sentences of less than two years are not normally served in Spain.
Ronaldo’s sentencing came after he reached a deal with the Spanish prosecution in which he admitted having committed four tax crimes between 2011 and 2014 and then was ordered to appear in person at the regional Madrid court to hear his sentencing.
Prosecutors had initially estimated that Ronaldo had defrauded some 14.7 million euros, although they reduced the figure to 5.7 million euros after the soccer superstar took the plea deal.