Cristiano Ronaldo has raised questions about his immediate future at Juventus with an Instagram post in which he thanked fans for taking part in his journey.
The forward, who has one year remaining on his contract, came under fire in recent months for his performances, leading to speculation that he could leave.
Ronaldo, 36, was criticised after Juve were eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16 and saw their Serie A nine-year dominance come to an end with Inter Milan winning the title.
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Juve won the Coppa Italia while Ronaldo finished as Serie A’s top scorer with 29 goals, becoming the only player to win the scoring title in the Premier League, La Liga and Italy’s top flight.
Ronaldo was surprisingly benched for Juve’s final game of the season, a 4-1 win at Bologna that ensured Juve finished fourth to qualify for next season’s Champions League. After the game, Ronaldo appeared to send a message to critics by posting a photograph to Instagram in which he is making the “shh” sign.
Hours later, Ronaldo reflected on the season and his time at Juventus.
“The life and career of any top player are made of ups and downs,” the Portugal captain wrote on Instagram. “This year we couldn’t win Serie A, congratulations to Inter for the well-deserved title. However, I have to value everything that we achieved this season at Juventus, both in collective and individual terms. The Italian Super Cup, the Italian Cup and the Serie A Top Scorer trophy fill me with happiness, mainly due to the difficulty they carry with them, in a country where nothing is easy to win.
“With these achievements, I reached a goal that I had set myself since the first day I arrived in Italy: to win the Championship, the Cup and the Super Cup, and also to be Best Player and Top Scorer in this great football country filled with tremendous players, giant clubs and a very own football culture.”
Ronaldo is in his third season at Juve and has scored 81 Serie A goals in 97 appearances. He won back-to-back Serie A Footballer of the Year awards in 2019 and 2020.
Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed a lot of success in Italy. Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images
“So, I’m very proud with this fact that has been widely replicated in recent days: Champion in England, Spain and Italy; Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy; Super Cup winner in England, Spain and Italy; Best Player in England, Spain and Italy; Best Scorer in England, Spain and Italy; Over 100 goals for a club in England, Spain and Italy,” he added.
“Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that I’ve left my mark in the countries where I’ve played, and that I gave joy to the fans of the clubs I represented. This is what I work for, this is what moves me and this is what I’ll always keep chasing for until the last day… I have already said that I don’t chase records, records chase me.
“Thanks to everyone who took part in this journey! We stand together!”
Juventus did not respond to a request for comment when asked about Ronaldo’s post by ESPN.
Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Sporting Lisbon, the club where he began his playing career. Sporting Lisbon president Frederico Varandas is hopeful Ronaldo will return to play one day at the club, but not until his contract at Juve ends.
However, his agent has since ruled out a return to the club.
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