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Sunday July 15 2018
Ronaldo worth the risk

Juventus should be applauded for raising their ambitions on and off the field with Cristiano Ronaldo, writes Daryl Hammond.

When the Bianconeri faithful rose in unison to applaud Cristiano Ronaldo after his stunning bicycle kick at the Allianz Juventus Stadium in the Champions League, it is unlikely they thought they’d be doing it every week. 

Juventus astounded the world of football when they made a move for five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. 

If you have the chance to sign one of the best players the game of football has ever seen, you drop all reservations and do it, right? 

But if that player is 33 years old, costs €105m, obliterates your wage structure and potentially sees you lose key players, do you still do it? 

The chance to sign a player like Ronaldo seldom comes around, but for a club who have won Serie A seven times in a row, do they really need him?  

No doubt he is still a top player, baffling many with his longevity. Hints of a decline late in 2017 were quickly dismissed as he raced to 42 goals in another stellar campaign, adapting his game from a tricky winger to a deadly marksman in the box. 

But at 33, even his immense powers must wane at some point during his four-year stay in Turin. At €105m you don’t know how much bang you get for your buck by the time he is 37. 

The Serie A is known as a league where quality older players can thrive. League legends Francesco Totti and Javier Zanetti didn't retire until they hit 40, and 35-year-old Fabio Quagliarella came fourth in the Scudetto race last season. 

Similar worries were levelled at their record signing of Gonzalo Higuain. Bought at 28 years old for €90m, it hasn’t worked out too badly, scoring 55 goals in 105 games, but his place in the side may be the biggest under threat with talks of him being reunited with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. 

Some fans are also worried that the huge financial burden of this deal may seem they forced to surrender key players such as Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic. 

The €105m transfer fee and hefty wage packet could perhaps be used to improve other areas of the squad, but they have already bolstered their defence and midfield with the addition of Joao Cancelo and Emre Can. 

If everyone stays, a front four of Ronaldo, Dybala, Douglas Costa and Higuain would be one of the most fearsome not only in Italy but in world football. 

They don’t need him to win the Scudetto. They have done a perfectly good job of steamrolling their domestic opposition for years, even if Napoli ran them close last season. It’s Ol' Big Ears the Old Lady wants most. 

They have been to the Champions League final twice in four seasons, and this year lost to eventual winners Real Madrid thanks to a last-minute penalty. 

The point is they are close and but for a bit of luck things might be different. Does a player like Ronaldo tip the scales? You would rather have him than not. 

With three league and cup doubles in a row, Juve's season is defined by Champions League success. It is the one thing that doesn’t come easy (or at all since 1996). 

In buying Ronaldo, the situation is similar to that which saw Neymar move to Paris Saint-Germain last summer for a record €222m. 

Sure, he arrived as the shiny Samba showpiece PSG could proudly parade to the world as a show of their financial might, but he is also of the planet’s best, bought to make them a force in Europe. 

After their Champions League exit to Real Madrid the season meant very little. They wrapped up the Ligue 1 title by April without an injured Neymar.   

Similarly, without European success during Ronaldo's stay it may feel like money wasted. Many of the higher-ups at Juve will be hoping Ronaldo will have paid for himself after his four-year stay on and off the pitch. 

His arrival will do wonders for their brand, with the Portuguese the most marketable footballer in history. Despite their continued success, they still lag behind Internazionale in terms of commercial revenue. 

As well as a boost their stock price, Juve have already gained over one million extra followers on Twitter and Instagram, with Real Madrid losing similar numbers. Some may say it’s a high price to pay for hype and to sell some shirts. 

Off the pitch they are still a financial force, and on it there are few in world football who can match them. Did Juventus need Ronaldo? Not really, no. 

But isn't that what truly top teams do? No matter how good they continue to court the world's top talent. Instead of stagnating, they've got the potential to significantly improve the club. And whether the move truly works out or not, their ambition should be applauded.  

Have your say...
Other serie A teams should be emboldened and try big moves. Napoli should get Cavani. Interesting should find a Banega like player in their midfield. Roma have had a good window esp getting Ante Coric so cheaply. Now stadiums of at least 50k should go up for big teams as a small stadium really limits income.Inter, Milan, Roma,lazio,fiorentina and Napoli should construct new stadiums with 50k capacity at least.
on the 16th July, 2018 at 10:58pm
@anonymous 11; Wise words. Ronaldo should realise he still has a lot to learn esp in a tactical league like serie A.Higuain has to go and a switch with Morata won't be bad as our counter attack will be back to being lethal esp in Europe giving an extra weapon.We should give pogba deal a try.If we can get good Alex Sandro money and have younger better replacement, we should give it a try. Perin should be our 1st choice keeper.
on the 16th July, 2018 at 10:50pm
I just think it’s a disaster that we didn’t also sign iniesta for free. Imagine him and ronaldo. That would be the champions league. Unfortunately for Juve they have very little midfield creative talent. Pajnic is crap.

As for Higuain, he is a piece of trash and his World Cup showing with Argentina confirms what we all knew. Personally I can’t wait to see the back of him. Chelsea are so dumb paying 60 mi for him.
on the 16th July, 2018 at 10:43pm
Juve,
Get ready to win. But seriously, it remains to be seen how the relationship with Allegri will be. If Ronaldo is willing to learn something new, along with Allegri and both are willing to learn a little something from each other then Juve may have just bought themselves a CL trophy. However if both remain stubborn and only want to do things their way then it wont last long. Either Ronaldo or Allegri will be gone. Let hope intelligence prevails.
on the 16th July, 2018 at 4:48pm
Hopefully if they get into Cl final they'd score more than 1 goal. I hope I am wrong and cannot be bothered to check this out but from memory lost 0-1 to Hamburg; beat Liverpool 1-0 (penalty) 1-1 with Ajax; lost 1-3 to Dortmund; 0-1 to Real Madrid; 0-0 Milan; 1-3 to Barcelona and 1-4 to RM. Its clear from this that they are too cautious in the final. The Milan final was really bad as Roque Junior was limping leaving Milan with 10 men and Lippi did nothing to take advantage. think
on the 16th July, 2018 at 10:38am
Is anyone really surprised that he chose yesterday to arrive and today to undergo his medical. If this was broadcast worldwide I am sure he'd have picked 4pm yesterday to do it to coincide with the world cup final. No matter I still cannot believe Juventus pulled this off. If they do get Godin, Marcelo and a top class midfielder then its on in CL
on the 16th July, 2018 at 9:50am
Author can be right regarding only commercial revenue numbers. I dont have those after last season, but after 2016/17 numbrs are (according Deloitte): Juve - 114,4 mil euro, Inter - 130,1 mil euro. You are right regarding total revenue (incl also broadcast and matchday revenues)
on the 16th July, 2018 at 8:41am
@Joseph El-Cassabgui
Author can be right regarding only commercial revenue numbers. I dont have those after last season, but after 2016/17 numbrs are (according Deloitte): Juve - 114,4 mil euro, Inter - 130,1 mil euro. You are right regarding total revenue (incl also broadcast and matchday revenues)
on the 16th July, 2018 at 8:39am
CR7 is going to kill it at Juventus to bad Buffon isn’t there this could have been the year for him to win a CL.
on the 16th July, 2018 at 1:25am
I’m sure CR7 will be scoping out all the fine Italian women for a 2nd baby maker to join his harem.
on the 15th July, 2018 at 11:50pm
It's a win-win situation! Fans will pay more to see him! Juve will have even greater financial gains n he will attract other top names to Juve which will help them even more in their CL quest! I can't see them having to sell that urgently unless it's to make space 4 other arrivals n it's a boost 4 Italian football aswell! Fuller stadiums n the other top Italian clubs seem 2 b strengthening too which should only make Serie A more competitive!
on the 15th July, 2018 at 11:33pm
Author is wrong: Juventus has double Inter's commercial revenue. Only Milan comes close.
on the 15th July, 2018 at 9:46pm

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