TURIN, Aug 25: Cristiano Ronaldo plays his first competitive game in Turin on Saturday as it was revealed that his arrival at Juventus has pushed the Serie A champions over the billion-euro mark on the Italian stock exchange.
According to Calcio e Finanza, a specialist sport and finance website, at the close of business on Friday, Juventus were valued at 1.035 billion euros ($1.2 billion).
It is the first time the club has reached that level since its introduction on the stock exchange in 2001.
That compares to Manchester United, the world�s richest club, whose overall value is 3.1bn pound ($3.9 billion).
Juventus�s shares have grown 55.15 per cent on the stock exchange since July 1, increasing from 0.660 euro to 1.024 euros.
�The rise peaked this summer, starting in June, when the first information about the possible arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo began circulating,� noted Calcio e Finanza.
The five-time Ballon d�Or winner joined the Serie A champions from Real Madrid on July 10 in a 100-million-euro deal. He earns a salary of 30 million euros per year.
Since his arrival sales of the club�s black and white jersey have also exploded.
Calcio e Finanza added that the volume of share sales went from 19 million euros in June to 301 million euros in July.
Ronaldo played his first competitive game in a 3-2 win against Chievo in Verona last weekend. His first game in Turin is against Lazio on Saturday at 1600 GMT.
�There�s excitement in the air!� said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
�Ronaldo is bringing a great enthusiasm to Italian football, I see all the people that are waiting outside, but regardless of the excitement, we still have to win games.
�We haven�t won anything just by signing him, so we have to show that on the pitch.
�Lazio will make it a great encounter, they defeated us last season at Allianz Stadium to end a 41-game unbeaten run. So it�s very important, even if it is only our second match of the season.�
Simone Inzaghi�s Roman side � who finished fifth last season � lost their opening match of the season 1-0 against Napoli.
�It would be wrong to only think about Ronaldo,� said Inzaghi.
�They�ll also play (Paulo) Dybala and (Mario) Mandzukic, and they have so many alternatives on the bench.� � AFP