After Cristiano Ronaldo played a fundamental role in winning four Champions League titles in the last five years for Real Madrid, the Portugal captain is expected to emerge as Juventus’ guiding light in their quest for UCL victory.
Since winning the trophy in 1996, Juventus has played five finals but failed to win a single one including twice in the last four years. The Italian side lost the 2017 final and last year’s quarter-final to Ronaldo’s individual brilliance.
The Turin-based side have won the double of Serie A and the Italian Cup for the last four years, but it has not been able to transfer its domestic authority to Europe’s top competition. In recent years, Juventus has been the home of several of top-class players but the Bianconeri always missed a player of Ronaldo’s calibre who could single-handedly change the complexion of any game.
CR7 joining the Italian outfit for a transfer fee of €100 million has made huge headlines rivalling the World Cup for football news this summer. His fluidity up front and his super-human ability to score goals match after match will be a big boost for Juventus.
The all-time record goal scorer in the Champions League, Ronaldo has netted an astonishing 105 times in the competition since joining Real Madrid in 2009. To put that into context, in the same time period, Juventus as a team could score only 93 times. The Portuguese captain has won six consecutive Golden Boot awards in the tournament.
With the presence of players like Douglas Costa, Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi in the midfield, CR7 is likely to play in his reinvented position as a central striker. Ronaldo's combination with Paulo Dybala will be a crucial one as Juventus chase its UCL dream.
Can CR7 fulfill Juventus’ UCL dream?
Yes, he can. His performance in the 2018 FIFA World Cup proved the five-time Ballon d’Or winner still has enough fireworks left in his arsenal to achieve success at the highest level. He will also bring the much-needed experience to his club side and is expected to lead the team from the front.
Meanwhile, performing with the same intensity will be a big challenge for CR7 as he was surrounded by brilliant players at Madrid. That made the task a bit easier for Ronaldo.
Despite maintaining amazing fitness, the 33-year-old Portuguese superstar is no longer a player who often dribbles past opposition defenders. In his 44 appearances for Madrid last season, he played as a striker 31 times and on the wing 13 times. That clearly shows CR7 is currently not a player who builds the play, but rather waits for balls to convert them into goals.
Getting the best out of CR7
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri will have to use his best weapon carefully as it would be difficult to bring the best out of a 33-year-old player in every match.
Allegri may resort to former Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane’s tactics who rested Ronaldo in La Liga in a significant number of matches to keep him fresh. That, of course, will also be good news for Portugal fans as the Seleção begin their quest to retain their European championship crown.
But it is Ronaldo’s performances in the UCL wearing the famous black and white striped Juventus shirt that will monopolise much of the attention among the football-loving public this coming season.