How Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Juventus impacted social media accounts
Given the profile of everyone involved, it was no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo's €100 million move from Real Madrid to Juventus had quite an impact on social media.
Both clubs have used Twitter and Instagram to tell their side of the summer's biggest transfer deal, and Juve have benefited from increases in follower numbers.
Madrid were first to confirm the move, saying they had "acceded to Cristiano's expressed wish" to leave the Bernabeu. Their tweet -- at 17:34 local time on July 10 -- got 92,000 retweets and 127,000 likes (English language version: 3.4K RT, 8.9K likes).
Ronaldo's "farewell letter," in which he asked Madrid fans to understand his reasons for leaving but didn't actually clarify what those reasons were, received 57K RT and 127K likes. Later the same evening, Madrid tweeted a video (180K RTs, 30K likes for the Spanish version, 37K RT, 78K likes in English).
Juventus' announcement that Ronaldo was "now officially a Bianconero" came at 18:59 on the same day, and it was clear that weeks of speculation had given the graphics team time to work on something nifty!
Ronaldo, meanwhile, stayed quiet as the deal was put together and finalised, limiting himself to family shots that some interpreted as cryptic messages. For example, his son, Cristiano Jr., wore a black and white T-shirt on the morning the move was announced.
Farewell / Welcome
Many of Ronaldo's now-former Madrid teammates were quick to offer kind farewells and best wishes, with Sergio Ramos' tweet showcasing the Andalusian's excellent English skills and easily out-performing Gareth Bale's sweet message to his friend.
.@Cristiano, your goals, your numbers and everything we've won together speak for themselves. You have earned a special place in the history of @RealMadrid. As Madridistas we'll remember you always. It's been a pleasure to play alongside you, bicho. Big hig and good luck! ?ﾟﾑﾍ? pic.twitter.com/NaywaDd3gw— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) July 10, 2018
An incredible player and a top guy! It has been a pleasure to play alongside you for the last 5 years. Good luck for the future my friend ?ﾟﾏﾆ?ﾟﾏﾆ pic.twitter.com/KBYLMYaWjP— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) July 10, 2018
Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira, with whom Ronaldo played in Madrid, was among the first to post a welcome note, though Juan Cuadrado's saying the next day that he was ceding his No. 7 jersey to the new arrival, as "it was more blessed to give than to receive," did better online.
Medical and presentation
Juventus' social media team was busy Sunday evening and Monday morning, keeping fans updated as Ronaldo arrived at his new club to complete his medical.
While social networks might seem mostly about allowing clubs and fans to communicate directly with fans, there are also hard commercial considerations at play -- even more than usual when it comes to a commodity as valuable as CR7.
With Ronaldo's personal brand already more popular than his past or current club, the impact on his own follower numbers has not been huge. Figures provided to ESPN FC by KPMG's Football Benchmark group have the Portugal captain gaining two million Instagram followers over the past fortnight, moving his total up to 135 million.
Looking at Twitter is trickier, not least because of last week's "purge" of fake, troll and inactive accounts by the social network's bosses, which caused Ronaldo to lose more than one million followers. Another of his lost users has been the Madrid official account, which follows only current Bernabeu players. However, he still has a total followers number of 73.5 million, so he is doing OK!
Madrid's chiefs might not be happy with reports claiming that the Bernabeu outfit lost almost one million Twitter followers in the days following the exit of the world's most popular athlete. But a more reliable analytics tool saw no such dip in overall follower numbers, and Madrid remain the world's top sports team.
Juventus clearly received a big boost. According to Football Benchmark, in the week between the rumour mill going into overdrive and Ronaldo arriving in Turin, Juventus gained more than 400,000 followers on their main and English Twitter pages, as well as in excess of 1.4 million on Instagram and 400,000 on Facebook.
.@juventusfc's posts on @Cristiano's presentation are sparking heavy engagement. We recorded 94k interactions and 1.3m video views on Juve's Italian Twitter page so far. #CR7JUVE #CR7DAY #Juventus #Ronaldo https://t.co/X5vy3EKKhk— Football Benchmark (@Football_BM) July 16, 2018
Juve's total Twitter follower number of just over six million is one fifth of Madrid's 30.6 million reach, while The Old Lady's newly updated Instagram tally of 12.1 million is similarly far behind the Spanish giants (60.9 million).
The Bianconeri's incoming No. 7 reached a much wider audience with his first personal tweet wearing his new jersey.
But then Ronaldo has been a Juve player for only a few days. Give him -- and his new club -- some time. Even before the current Ballon d'Or has kicked a ball for his new team, his off-pitch impact is clear.
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