Wednesday September 19 2018
Juventus didn't need Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League debut didn't go to plan, but Adam Digby notes it did remind Juventus of their pre-CR7 strengths.

Ever since he touched down in Turin at half-time of the World Cup Final, the talk about how Cristiano Ronaldo would help Juventus in the Champions League has not stopped. With CR7 in their lineup, the Bianconeri rightly looked towards this season as the one which would end their 22-year wait for European glory, the Portuguese megastar viewed as the man who could make the difference for a team who has constantly fallen short in UEFA’s elite competition.

Then he got sent off.

With just 29 minutes on the clock of the first game with Valencia, Jeison Murillo and Ronaldo tangled in the penalty area, the latter appearing to pull the former’s hair after he threw himself to the floor. When referee Felix Brych flashed the red card, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner burst into tears, while Juve fans across the globe recalled that the Colombian was formerly a player of bitter rivals Inter.

The best laid plans of Max Allegri instantly went out of the window, all that chatter about a bright new dawn for the Old Lady sent packing along with their club record signing. Given that the Bianconeri had not won their first group stage game since 2015 (1-2 at Manchester City), those same supporters could be forgiven for fearing the worst, but what followed was a superb backs-to-the-wall display that showcased qualities much more familiar with Italian football of yesteryear.

Indeed, rather than the headline grabbing goals of Ronaldo, this became a reenactment of the old stereotype, Juve completely denying their opponents time and space to play despite being at a numerical disadvantage.

By the time of the dismissal, Sami Khedira had somewhat fortunately been substituted off already, replaced by his compatriot Emre Can. Younger, quicker and far more mobile, the ex-Liverpool midfielder helped the rearguard action, working well with Blaise Matuidi to snuff out any potential danger in front of the backline.

Whenever Valencia did press forward, Giorgio Chiellini was there to repel them, the new club Captain leading the way with one tackle, two interceptions, four blocks and a staggering 10 clearances by the time the final whistle blew. Alongside him, Leonardo Bonucci turned in his best display since returning from Milan, while Mario Mandzukic was the same warrior he always is, spending as much time at left-back as he did leading the line in attack.

Miralem Pjanic coolly despatched two penalties beyond former Juve team-mate Norberto Neto to hand the Bianconeri a morale boosting victory, while Federico Bernardeschi certainly repaid Allegri’s faith in him as a constant attacking threat. Preferred to both Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala in the starting XI, the 24-year-old completed five successful take-ons, repeatedly leaving would-be defenders trailing in his wake in a performance that deserves immense praise.

That is true of the whole team, as the players and their Coach shrugged off the early red card to earn three vital points at a stadium that is a notoriously difficult place to play. The Mestalla was a cauldron as always, but it was the Juventus contingent who were left singing when the final whistle blew thanks to a defensive masterclass.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Have your say...
You see scuffles where players push each other and do not get sent off so why was Ronaldo sent off for this minor thing.
on the 24th September, 2018 at 9:29am
A sending off was a little over the top but a 3 game ban is laughable.
on the 24th September, 2018 at 9:27am
Get over it?

I should hope so!
WE WON WITH 10 MEN........


We do need CRISTIANO, it's a real pleasure watching him play, great moves and top goals!

I think that a yellow card, maybe, could have been accepted, if only the Valencia players had received all the yellow cards that they deserved........

Having said that, GREAT WIN, so we can look forward to better things to come, rather than dwell about the injust red card for Ronaldo.
on the 24th September, 2018 at 6:37am
"put your hands on" is not violent conduct. And he did not pull his hair. How many times do we need to say that? Everyone said the same thing.

And yeah everyone knows he will be banned for 1 game for sure, Sherlock, but that's not what we're talking about.

"..from the stands coz fact is thats where he will be for CL games"

Games. Not game. You used plural. If you don't know the difference then that's your problem.

"His ban will stand and may even be extended"

Yeah... you clearly wish for the ban to be extended. No real football fan would want that to happen.

It is indeed your dream, little hater. Which is fine I guess.
Just stop denying it cos it's clear as daylight.
on the 23rd September, 2018 at 11:31pm
@ messi fan boy, i have watched the replay 30 times and Ronaldo didn't pull Murillo's hair. You need to check your eyes with an oculist. I understand what Ronaldo did is wrong but he should be given yellow instead of red card. The incident happens because of a provocation (diving) from Murillo.
on the 23rd September, 2018 at 9:48pm
It's not my dreams it is a reality. A red card means he won't be playing so if he isn't in the stands where to you expect him to be? Goodness me if you don't know that rule then you have problems.
He pulled his hair, watch it, its there for you to see and his ridiculous protests make him even more guilty.
I am certainly not saying the other guy didnt dive but that argument goes out the window when you put your hands on a man who is on the ground.
on the 23rd September, 2018 at 2:18pm
Didn't pull his hair.
You want us to believe you over our own eyes and what everyone in the football world has said...

"from the stands"

Haha, you wish.

Anyone who loves football wouldn't want that to happen.

Except a petty little hater.
on the 23rd September, 2018 at 1:34pm
"Carry on making excuses for what was clear to see."

Are you projecting?

This drama stole everyone's attention for the wrong reason. I pretty much doubt they'll rescind the ban, but extend it? UEFA is not that bold, not that brave, not even that ignorant of what the majority of fans want. Between making more money and holding up their ideals, take a wild guess how likely they'll view it like you as violent conduct.
on the 23rd September, 2018 at 11:18am
Ronaldo didnt pull Murillo's hair. He just pat on the head. Besides, the guy was diving and deserves yellow card. 
on the 23rd September, 2018 at 6:43am
Pulling a players hair- sound like a new football skill to you?!
Carry on making excuses for what was clear to see. His ban will stand and may even be extended, I guess those who make that decision are 'haters' too? There isn't a rule book for players and 1 for Ron.
If he's the main man/presence/shining light he shouldn't find himself in this situation at all.
Let's see how far his presence gets them from the stands coz fact is thats where he will be for CL games.
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 11:32pm

Violent conduct is when a player uses or attempts to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball, or against a team-mate, team official, match official, spectator or any other person, regardless of whether contact is made.

In addition, a player who, when not challenging for the ball, deliberately strikes an opponent or any other person on the head or face with the hand or arm, is guilty of violent conduct unless the force used was negligible.

"excessive force", "brutality", "strikes".

Ronaldo did none of that.

And if you think what he did applies to any of those terms, then please go back to your own bubble in your safe space, the same bubble where you think Ronaldo has no unique effect and presence.
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 4:53pm
"you can not put your hands on another player plain and simple "

Yes you can. And everyone does it. It's a contact sport after all.

That was in no way a violent conduct. Do players need their safe spaces now as well?

All the commentators, pundits, and refereeing experts have said it has not red.

Then comes someone here who calls him a "donkey" and says "simple, it was red, simple".

Yeah, you're a petty hater.

And yes, Ronaldo has major effect and presence whether you like to believe it or not.
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 4:39pm
We'll agree that Ronaldo effect is a little too early to judge. But in a contact sport like football, you're really going to say putting a hand on someone is a red card? And in the same game where another player put his studs on Cancelo's face without being sent off?

You're not some truth whisperer nor a rule book writer, you're just another viewer. If you're going to let bias blind your judgement this much, no one will stop you. And no one will listen.
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 12:23pm
I mean have you listened to yourselves, honestly.
'Ronaldo effect', 'his presence', 'mentality' is there anything else? All he needs is the Popes outfit and he can deliver a mass!
He was correctly sent off, you can not put your hands on another player plain and simple so it is all well and great coming on here and calling people haters but if you are blinded by the show you are in no position to comment when you come on here and argue that he shouldn't have been sent off, it was clear!
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 10:33am
Tian beijing says it best, his mere presence improved the team, no more inferiority complex encapsulated in words like "humility"&"respect", too much respect if you ask me, which cost them manageable ties against teams like Real and Bayern. On Tuesday I saw Juve finally perform with that big team mentality vs "suffering"&"humility" of years past, and Valencia on the "respect" side of things.. Why? The Ronlado effect if you ask me, let alone the marketing bonus and exposure he brings to the club.
on the 22nd September, 2018 at 5:18am
Juve able to beat valencia a man down in their own backyard - without ronaldo. This was the hardest game of the group stage for them...

This team clearly has the talent, patience and character to win the champions league this year.

From an inter fan.
on the 21st September, 2018 at 12:41am
@The Grand Old Lady Rocks To JUVE!

I absolutely love that comment. Superstition at it's absolute best and in your shoes my friend I would do exactly the same
on the 20th September, 2018 at 11:19pm
@ Anon

I had thrown up after reading your sentence Messi is better on and off the pitch. And then you concluded that Ronaldo will make no difference this season based on his 29 mins performance. Wow! Messi fan boy, nice try!
on the 20th September, 2018 at 10:57pm
@ Anonymous 6:10pm

And you honestly sound like a Ronaldo hater.

What display? He didn't even have a chance to show anything before being wrongly sent off.

The fact that you brought "off the pitch" into this only weakens your argument further.

But then you went a step further to say that he wouldn't have an impact, calling him a "donkey". Dismissing Ronaldo's merits like that shows that you're either hater or a Messi fanboy. So much hate and jealousy.

I knew Ronaldo joining Juve will bring this petty CR7 vs Messi argument over to Juve. Really sick of this comparison for the last 10 years.
Let's just be grateful that we witnessed them both.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 10:33pm
Imagine Higuain getting ready for the next big match? The doubt creeps in like a disease. The players start to wane. Juve give up an early goal. Everyone gets nervous. Another mistake, and then another. Makings of a season of missed opportunity.

Ronaldo has a winning mentality. He is a shining beacon of hope, expected to bear the burden and expectations in the big games this year, and has a track record of thriving in that environment. THAT'S THE ONLY THING JUVE NEED. End of story.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 9:29pm
Giancarlo C's Mom
You sound like one of the deluded fans. Messi is better on and off the pitch.
Ronaldo will make no diffrence to Juve CL hopes especially with the display he put in last night.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 7:10pm
The quality of this piece is poor, to say the least. It's more of a match report than an analysis. I would like to shed light on the fact that it wasn't Juventus who won the game, but it's the opposite; Valencia are a super weak side. A simple glimpse of their La Liga progress this term (Just three points from four games) and it's very clear that Juventus would have won this game even by playing with six players against 11.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 6:40pm
Always funny to me how Juve are treated equily in the champioins league, yet they are always favoured by the ref's in serie a. Ref got the red card wrong, just get over it, like we do when Juve cheat in serie a.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 5:18pm
Good article, really don't understand the criticism.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 5:06pm
@ Anon 8:04

You sound like a jealous idiot. LOL

Waste of money for having best player in the world???? A man who can raise Juve's value 300 M pounds in a week? Get outta here.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 4:03pm
I think Juve looked very strong at the beginning. I saw the Ronaldo effect as all the Juve players seemed to raise their game. This can only be good news. Hopefully it will be a one game ban, otherwise let's save him for the knockout stages. Either way we're looking better in Europe than I've seen in a while. Also, I know some have mocked his tears but this guy cares, no matter who he plays for and that will soon rub off on everyone in the squad.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 2:13pm
Huh, he's here for marketing. Sacrificing Higuaín and keeping chumps like Mandy and Capitano Khedira with sending Marchisio away have been nothing but disgrace. Juve would've won CL if it wasn't for a Clown like Allegri.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 1:53pm
Credit where credit is due, this was the beginning of a dominant Juve side lacking goals by the 1st half hour. Any other day, they could've been 2 goals up already.

All penalty decisions were correct. My problem is the ref would probably be reluctant had he not seen what a poor decision he made. Pulling hair? Come on. And a boot to the head is somehow just a yellow in the same game.

Strictly speaking, Juve don't need CR7. However, they needed a dream debut, and they got a nightmare. VAR now!
on the 20th September, 2018 at 1:23pm
Here was me, sitting back, feet up watching Juve in the Champions League. Great stuff. My wife says, "hey do you think Juve will be treated a bit more harshly now that Ronaldo has joined them, like, will there be any repercussions?"
I say "eh, nah cant see any problems that way".
Just 3 minutes later I'm talking out load saying, wait what, what, WHAT! Ronaldo gets sent off for touching a players curls!!

Needles to say, the wife is barred from watching Juve in the Champions League as precaution
on the 20th September, 2018 at 12:43pm
@Italian in Canada, I think you were watching the wrong game, Juve was extremely good for most of the game, bar the last 10 minutes where we had no choice but to play counter attacking because of a poor refereeing decision.2 penalties yes, we won by 2 penalties but they are part of the game. Also Valencia got an undeserved penalty. Maybe next time watch the game while awake and not just watch highlights.
on the 20th September, 2018 at 12:08pm

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