In what was probably the most shocking move of the summer, Cristiano Ronaldo ended his nine year spell at Real Madrid to join Italian giants Juventus. The deal saw Juve paying €100 million to Real Madrid, and signing the Portuguese captain on a €30 million a year contract. A hefty expense for a 33 year old, but Ronaldo might just be what Juve need right now.
Juve have won the Italian Serie A 7 years in a row, but even during this spell of domestic dominance, they’ve failed to overcome historic difficulties in Europe. The Italian club has only won the European Cup/Champions League twice. Once in 1985 and a second in 1996. For a club of Juventus’ stature, they’d hope for much more.
However, the more jarring statistic is that they’ve lost a staggering seven finals, most recently in 2017 That is the most of any team, and they are one of two teams to have lost more finals than they’ve won. The Champions League trophy is a burning desire for the team, one that has been consistently elusive, just out of reach. If Juve want to break the twenty two year duct, there’s no player better to help achieve that than Cristiano Ronaldo.
RONALDO IN EUROPE
Ronaldo has lifted the famous trophy five times, is the Champions League’s all-time highest scorer (with 120) and has been the top scorer in seven different European campaigns, finishing last season’s with 15 goals. He’s the only player to score in three different finals too. Juventus, on the other hand, have never scored more than one goal in a Champions League final, so the ex-Real Madrid man might just be the player to give them an edge and drag them over the line.
In recent times, Ronaldo himself has been a thorn in side of Juve’s European hopes and dreams. He scored three goals in two games against the Bianconeri in the season just gone by, including a spectacular overhead kick that even Juve’s own fans applauded.
Only two seasons ago, when Juventus and Real Madrid met in the final, Ronaldo scored twice and buried Bianconeri hopes of putting their European blues behind them. Now, instead of taking away the Bianconeri’s dream, it’s his turn to deliver it to Turin.
PORTUGUESE STAR POWER
Ronaldo’s goalscoring records are unbelievable and speak volumes about the effect he will have on Juve, but he doesn’t just improve the teams he plays for by scoring goals. His elite athleticism will undoubtedly set an amazing example for the younger generation of Juventus players. He’ll instil his winning mentality on his teammates while also adding to Juve’s wealth of experience. Juventus already has a culture of hard work and dedication and there’s no one like Cristiano Ronaldo to encapsulate that.
Don’t be surprised to see the Bianconeri linked to bigger names as Ronaldo’s star power will attract players who dream of playing with a player as decorated as him. Alex Sandro has allegedly confirmed his desire to stay at the club after months of speculation. If he was to leave however, Marcelo has been a name thrown into the hat. Ronaldo’s long time teammate would no doubt like to continue sharing the left flank with his good friend.
2016 UEFA Team of the Year member Leonardo Bonucci returned to Juve after leaving them only a year ago, and the opportunity to play alongside a champion like Ronaldo surely played a factor in his decision. The ambition that signing a five time Balon D’Or winner shows is one that players take into consideration when moving to clubs.
THE OTHER BIANCONERI REINFORCEMENTS
Ronaldo is far from the only reinforcement Juve have made this summer in their quest to bring the Champions League to Turin. After Gianluigi Buffon’s departure, Juve were left only with Wojciech Szczesny in between the sticks, and no reliable cover. Mattia Perin, the highly rated 25 year old Italian, has been signed to provide back-up to and compete with Szczesny. Both will be vying for a starting place and will bring out the best in each other. It will be up to Massimiliano Allegri to decide who gets the nod at the beginning of the season.
João Cancelo was recruited from Valencia to fill the hole left by Stephan Lichtsteiner at right back and as mentioned earlier Bonucci has returned from AC Milan. The already strong defence of last season is improved on with these two names, who are players more than capable of getting forward. Last season Allegri’s men struggled to build from the back so these talents are welcome additions to the Bianconeri lineup.
In midfield, ex-Liverpool player Emre Can arrived on a free transfer in the midfield. As well as Ronaldo, Douglas Costa’s option to buy has been exercised. Important deals which add further pace and precision to Juve’s attacking options.
One thing is for certain, especially with Ronaldo leading the line, Juventus will be a definite force in Europe this season. Will it be enough to break an unwanted tradition remains to be seen…
Chievo Verona v Juventus: Saturday the 18th of August at 17:00
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