TURIN, Italy (AP) — It’s taken five months but Juventus has finally found a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Coveted striker Dušan Vlahović completed a 70-million-euro ($80-million) transfer from Fiorentina on Friday on his 22nd birthday and will wear the No. 7 shirt vacated by Ronaldo.
“Today is really a special day for me and one of the most special and happy birthdays I’ve ever experienced so far,” Vlahović said after Juventus presented him with a cake and candle in the team’s changing room at Allianz Stadium.
Juventus’ tweet announcing the move included the hashtag “DV7” — a take on Ronaldo’s “CR7.” Vlahović wore No. 9 for Fiorentina.
Juventus said Vlahović signed a deal through June 2026 and that the transfer fee also could include up to 10 million euros ($11 million) in bonuses.
Vlahović has scored 20 goals in 24 matches in all competitions for Fiorentina this season and is joint top of the Serie A scoring charts, along with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
In fifth place, Juventus had struggled to replace Ronaldo since his move to Manchester United in August. The Bianconeri have scored only 34 goals this season — fewer than any of the top 10 teams in the Italian league, apart from Torino.
Vlahović, a Serbia international, could be the perfect player to change that, having just matched Ronaldo’s feat of scoring 33 league goals in a calendar year.
Juventus is also without injured winger Federico Chiesa.
In an unusual move, Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso announced in October that Vlahović would not renew his contract with the Tuscan club, which was due to expire in 2023. That made Vlahović a hot commodity on the transfer market and he was also targeted by Arsenal.
Vlahović immediately swore allegiance to Juventus, which is two spots ahead of Fiorentina in the league standings.
“Juventus represents pride, tradition, family,” Vlahović said. “Juventus is always there until the end and never gives up.”
Along with Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi, Vlahović joins a growing list of former Fiorentina players at Juventus.
“Dusan Vlahović continues to amaze. Last year he was the best young player in Serie A, this year he is living up to great expectations by proving himself to be one of the best players this season,” Serie A chief executive Luigi De Siervo said after Vlahović was named the league’s player of the month for December.
“Physical strength, technique, a spirit of sacrifice and a great sense of goal make him one of the most complete forwards around.”
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