Giorgio Chiellini believes Cristiano Ronaldo has made a similar impact on Juventus to Andrea Pirlo.
Pirlo’s arrival in 2011 coincided with the start of Juve’s dominance in Serie A, and Chiellini claimed Ronaldo was taking the playmaker’s work to the next level.
“I think Cristiano Ronaldo has noticed what an important team he has behind him, particularly at Valencia,” the defender said from Monday’s Gran Gala’ del Calcio ceremony.
“He’s helping us raise the bar, but we showed to always be a team at Mestalla and in any case, a match like that increases your self-esteem.
“He works in a way that we lacked before. He gives conviction to his environment. For example, Pirlo gave it to us in Italy and now Ronaldo is giving it to us on an international level.
“He’s a player who improves the whole team around him. He’s also filled the personality void left by Buffon’s farewell. It was like he’d never left.
“He’s crucial on and off the field. We elevate each other, highlighting our strengths. Our qualities come to the fore with people like him.
“Are we unbeatable? We’ve had some players out, but we’ve always been good at finding alternative solutions.
“I’m always wary because when everything is fine, a bad surprise is always around the corner and it normally comes in the form of injuries.
“We did well in Milan and Florence. We have a great squad and it’ll come in handy, especially at times when not all of us are at 100 percent.
“We’ll prepare for our match against Inter without looking at the table but while knowing that it’ll be a very difficult match.
“It’s the game of the year for every fan, so we’ll have to play well and be careful.”