Sunday August 12 2018
Ronaldo shifts Juventus focus

Cristiano Ronaldo makes his debut today, moving Juventus priorities from long-term planning to immediate European success, writes Anthony Barbagallo.

With the substantial amount of money Juventus has spent this transfer market to purchase Cristiano Ronaldo and bring back Leonardo Bonucci at the expense of Mattia Caldara, Bianconeri fans will expect nothing less than a Champions League triumph. However, is this the ideal time to relinquish long-term planning to achieve European ambitions? 

Over the last seven years, it has been a decorated journey for the reigning Serie A champions. With Antonio Conte being the Coach who built the successful platform for his successor Massimiliano Allegri, Juve has continued its dominance on the domestic front and established themselves as a regular contender in Europe. By reaching two Champions League finals in the last four years, the pressure and expectations have been mounting on the club.

All successful cycles come to an end, especially when your side is ageing. So this may be the appropriate moment for Juventus to seize the Champions League opportunity and put the long-term planning on delay. 

Acquiring Ronaldo - one of the most complete forwards in the modern game - has undoubtedly turned the Old Lady into one of this season’s Champions League favourites. Even at 33, the vast amount of Champions League experience and success CR7 boasts in this competition is indescribable. Therefore, it is obvious why Juve purchased the five-time Ballon d’Or winner - hoping they can weaken Real Madrid and finally boast that star name to get them over the line Europe. But with the Portuguese star’s arrival, this meant the Scudetto holders had to sell Gonzalo Higuain, mainly because of his high wages. 

Higuain being offloaded to Milan seemed to make sense for many of the Bianconeri fans, however, the part that appeared to be confusing was including Mattia Caldara in the deal. Selling Caldara - one of Italy’s brightest prospects - just to re-sign Bonucci sounded ludicrous at first. This didn’t look like the usual intelligent business from Juve, particularly when your direct rivals have strengthened and reaped most of the benefits from the deal. It sounds risky: giving up a prominent 24-year-old centre-back for a 31-year-old Bonucci who left Juventus on bad terms. 

However, the 34-time Serie A winners have now gained an experienced defender that can instantly adapt to Allegri’s formation. This means the formidable Chiellini-Bonucci duo will reunite and most likely cause frustration for many top strikers in Italy and Europe. Juventus now has another fundamental player who can steer them to European success, provided the Bianconeri don’t get the Milan version of Bonucci and no more halftime bust-ups.

While Juve now possess a powerful starting XI and a deep bench, youngsters such as Federico Bernardeschi, Leonardo Spinazzola, Daniele Rugani and Rodrigo Bentancur won’t be getting much game time. Again, this further indicates Andrea Agnelli and Giuseppe Marotta are planning for the short-term goal - winning the Champions League.

This is the right time for the Serie A giants to push for their European aspirations - utilising veterans such as Giorgio Chiellini and players like Miralem Pjanic and Douglas Costa at the peak of their careers. Time is a precious commodity, so Juventus must ensure they produce immediate Champions League success under the Ronaldo era - anything less will be a complete failure.

The Bianconeri will still have raw talent in the starting line-up: Paulo Dybala, Emre Can and Joao Cancelo will most likely play vital parts. These players will have the opportunity to build valuable experience around a high-calibre player like Ronaldo, hence benefiting some of the club's younger generation for the long-term run.

Before Juventus begin their quest to secure an eighth consecutive Serie A title and fight for the Champions League dream, the traditional Villar Perosa friendly (Juventus A vs Juventus B) will take place this afternoon. This is what all Juve fans have been waiting for: Ronaldo making his debut in a black and white shirt. While this may be a friendly match, it will give us glimpses on how the Portuguese international will perform with his new teammates and under Allegri’s tactical system.   

Have your say...
LOL @DiMastta, you remind me of my friend when he believed Juve (with Del Neri, worn out Cannavaro, Sissoko and Amauri) is on par with Inter 2010.
on the 13th August, 2018 at 7:37pm
@ Anon11

I'll be honest, watching Caldara goes to Milan for Bonucci is a painful sight. However, his ability really complements Allegri's tactics. Did you watch the game at Villar Perosa? There's nothing we can do. Booing this clown in match has no benefit for the team and we know he's learned his lesson. He takes 2.5 paycut to join Juve and he admitted playing for Milan is a step back (LOL Viktor). Bottom line, Juventus and Bonucci complement each other.
on the 13th August, 2018 at 7:19pm
You guys are too quick to believe Bonucci's return is a good thing for Juve. He may know Juve's movements but they got hammered with him in defense in the CL against RM and I can't forget how poor the defending was that day. He will come back and ride Chiellini's coattails, who is a real defender. You better hope Bonucci has his head screwed on straight this time or he will start sending long balls into outer space again.
on the 13th August, 2018 at 3:13pm
Dimasa, yawn nobody cares about inter. They are inferior in every way. Always was and always will be. That is all. Carry on trolls.
on the 13th August, 2018 at 1:41pm
LOL @DiMastta Still enjoying the offseason? The most wonderful time of the year to be an inter supporter, when delusion makes them think that a collection of has-beens (Naingolan, Asamoah) and never will bees (Politano, Keita) will make them match a well-oiled machine of world-class players.
on the 13th August, 2018 at 11:02am
How infuriating it would be to these eternal UCL runners up should Inter win both league and continent. Squad member for member we've matched them.
Let's Get Ready To Rumble.
on the 13th August, 2018 at 7:49am
Agreed. Champions or bust at this point. Very sad we had to get rid of Caldara though. Hope that doesn't come to bite us! In Rugani we trust? Still don't know why Benatia is still in white and black...
on the 12th August, 2018 at 9:37pm
I would bring Keane back as xtra back-up n pace. Him n D.Costa would b frightening. I agree another top attacking mfd signing could help them be more unpredictable going forward too but Pjanic is creative n the those front 3/4 they will most likely need a strong defensive mdf to balance the ultra attacking instincts of their forwards! They may b a breakout star 2? CL success would b great 4 Italy. Hope Inter, Roma n Napoli can progress also!
on the 12th August, 2018 at 8:26pm
Awesome! Douglas Costa, Ronaldo n Dybala up top have everything! Pace, guile n trickery, experience n most importantly goals! Of all kind. In the air. Inside the box. Outside n Mandzukic as back up too!
I think Milan certainly got the better of the Bonucci deal wi Higuain/Caldara n they say u should never go back 2 n old club but short term it could still pay off 4 Juve? Caldara's a loss but wi Rugani they prob thought they already have one of Italy's most promising defenders. Awesome!
on the 12th August, 2018 at 8:19pm
I'm afraid to open fridge these days...
on the 12th August, 2018 at 5:30pm
If goes to plan Juve could start an era of European dominance as per Milan in the 90s
on the 12th August, 2018 at 12:54pm
Juve had to move Higuain at $54 mil so he had 0 impact on the budget for the remainder of his contract. Chelsea never bid. The only team was Milan.

Bonucci said in public he wanted to move back to Juventus. He had to move on now.

Both teams needed to move. Milan had the upper hand bc Juve already purchased Ronaldo and had to take on Higuain's salaray, so they pushed for Caldara

They also lessened the financial impact by valuing Bonucci and Caldara both at $35 mil. It could only work this way
on the 12th August, 2018 at 12:50pm
We could also have used a quick young striker like Morata who would make our counters more potent in Europe. This is a weapon which limited us last season. But Bonucci brings new weapon being long ball from behind.
on the 12th August, 2018 at 12:21pm
It's seems this season, we will be going through the flanks a lot. Down the middle, we have the unpredictable form of Dybala who performs best as a withdrawn striker but not to super play maker as such. Our midfield would have benefitted from a Pogba esque player or a Golovin to make us potent down the middle too thus being more unpredictable. More bench time for Mandzukic as Douglas Costa is better in the wide left role in 4-5-1.
on the 12th August, 2018 at 12:17pm
This is the year where Agnelli once said 8 years ago, Juventus long term project will get its benefit in 7-8 years later. Hell yeah! Agnelli's words is true! Now we have Ronaldo "the best player in the world!" to fill in already fantastic squads.

GK: Szczesny, Perin
CB: Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, Rugani, Benatia
LB: Alex Sandro, Spinazzola
RB: Cancelo, De Sciglio
CM: Pjanic, Matuidi, Can, Khedira, Marchisio, Bentancur
RW: Cuadrado, Bernardeschi
LW: Costa, Dybala
CF: RONALDO, Mandzukic.
on the 12th August, 2018 at 10:56am

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