Alessandro Del Piero has urged Juventus to unleash Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League. “They have a system that always delivers. It’s called CR7.”
Juve’s signing of Ronaldo last summer was seen as a clear sign of intent by the Old Lady that they were targeting the Champions League, and Del Piero believes the former Real Madrid superstar can make the difference between success and failure.
“A player like Ronaldo should never be sold, but there are cycles, motivations, new challenges,” the Bianconeri icon told AS ahead of Wednesday’s last-16 first leg against Atletico Madrid.
“Cristiano has chosen an exciting one: winning the Champions League with Juventus. It’s difficult to judge Real’s decision.
“There are times when clubs have to make difficult but necessary decisions, and the desire of a player like Cristiano weighs more than any consideration.
“In light of what he’s doing, he doesn’t seem to be having trouble scoring against Italian defences.
“I think there isn’t so much difference between defences in Spain and Italy, even if the conditions have changed a lot compared to 10, 15 years ago.
“I don’t see any favourites this season, but Juventus are certainly very, very competitive.
“I love stadia that give off heat like the [Vicente] Calderon and now Wanda. I’ll be at the Metropolitan to comment on the game and I can’t wait.
“I expect a compact and organised Juve. It’ll be a very tactical tie, especially the first leg. Allegri will want his team to be focused.
“After that, they have a system that almost always delivers excellent results in the Champions League. It’s called CR7.
“I challenge any team in the world to do without the three best defenders at the same time [in Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini].
“if we’re talking about players at their level, the task becomes even harder. Buffon? Gigi will always be in the club’s history and also mine,
“We shared some unforgettable moments, but I like Juve’s choice of replacement. Szczesny is perfect and it was a great idea to have him signed a year before Buffon left.
“When Mandzukic is fit, his place in the XI is untouchable and I think that’ll be the case in Madrid too.”
Juve had one foot in the semi-finals last season, only for Ronaldo to score an injury-time penalty for Real Madrid in controversial circumstances…
“It was a missed opportunity,” admitted the 44-year-old.
“It’s still being talked about today, beyond the controversy. If Juventus had qualified they would’ve won the cup, but they’ll try again.”