Friday May 10 2019
Ronaldo delivered, despite Juventus

As Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut Juventus season comes to a close, Vilizar Yakimov believes he lived up to expectations, but the team around him fell short.

Another missed opportunity. That’s probably what the majority of the Juventus fans are thinking after seeing Tottenham completing a dramatic comeback against Ajax to reach their first Champions League final against fellow English side Liverpool.

Considering the quality and the experience of this Juventus team, as well as the underwhelming campaigns of sides like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, on paper the Bianconeri were undoubtedly one of the favorites for the trophy. However, Max Allegri’s men rarely lived up to that tag on the field, as the aggression, skill and dedication of Ajax never gave them a chance in the quarter-finals.

In fact, despite having Cristiano Ronaldo and arguably superior individual quality all over the field, the Bianconeri looked lost against the Dutch side and were by far the worse team after the two legs. So after investing €112m and a whopping €30m in yearly salary to bring in the Portuguese, a logical question arises - did Ronaldo live up to the expectations and his price tag?

When it comes to contribution off the field, there is little doubt that CR7’s arrival had a sensational impact on the marketing side of Juventus and Serie A as a whole. However, this was just one side of the transfer and whether Ronaldo succeeded in his debut season in Turin should be judged on his exploits on the pitch.

The 34-year-old started the season slowly, especially in Europe, where he was sent off on his debut and scored only one goal in the group stage. In fact, Ronaldo finished the season with “only” six goals in the Champions League, which is his worst tally in the past eight seasons. The Portugal international netted at least 10 Champions League goals in each of those campaigns, which at first glance shows a significant decrease in his performance.

However, like in most cases, the numbers don’t tell the full story, as what’s arguably been more important than Ronaldo’s goals this season, has been the way he is driving the team forward.

Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Bernardeschi, Blaise Matuidi and pretty much everyone at Juventus highlighted more than once how impressed they were, when they saw his ambition and dedication in training. Ronaldo’s mental strength can also be seen in every game that he has played this term, as he always tries to fire up his squad and shows a never-say-die attitude that only a few of his teammates possess.

It might sound bizarre, but Cristiano is showing more effort, more dedication and more love for the jersey than many of his colleagues, who have been wearing the Juventus’ colours for years. The Bianconeri have looked slow and uninspired in the majority of their games this term, with Ronaldo, Chiellini and Mario Mandzukic looking like the only players with the needed motivation and capable of displaying the “Fino alla Fine” motto on many occasions.

That was arguably the biggest reason for the elimination against Ajax, as with Chiellini and Mandzukic injured, Ronaldo was Juve’s only leader on the field. While Erik ten Hag’s men showed extremely strong unity, sense of belonging and awareness, on the other end of the field players like Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele Rugani, Alex Sandro and even Miralem Pjanic were lethargic, confused and played like a bunch of individuals instead of a team.

Putting CR7’s mentality and leadership aside, his goals in each of the two legs against the Dutch team were the only positive thing for Juventus and while they weren’t enough to secure qualification, those strikers were the perfect example of his predator’s instinct. Back in January he also scored the winner in the 1-0 Supercoppa victory against Milan in what was another underwhelming display from the Bianconeri, proving that he is still the man for big occasions.

Undoubtedly Juve’s best (only?) team performance this season came in the second leg against Atletico Madrid, but even that would’ve not been enough, if it weren’t for Ronaldo’s hat-trick to secure the sensational 3-0 win.

CR7’s 21 domestic goals and eight assists are also below the numbers he reached in each of his last nine seasons in La Liga. However, contributing to 29 goals in as many games in his debut season is still sensational, considering that even the leakiest Serie A defences are tougher to break than most in Spain and the fact that Allegri failed to create any cohesion in the team’s play all season long.

Winning an eighth-consecutive Scudetto and a Supercoppa Italiana cannot be overlooked, despite the shortcomings in Europe. However, the Bianconeri have raised the bar so high in recent years that nobody would judge their season nor Ronaldo’s contribution based on their domestic success.

With the Portuguese superstar contributing 28 goals and 10 assists in all competition, he has been Juventus’ top goalscorer and undoubtedly best player. Those stats also prove that Ronaldo is capable of scoring enough even when the team around him is not playing well.

Despite Ronaldo’s stats showing a decline, compared to his tallies from previous years, this is mainly due to Allegri’s inability to establish any identity in his side all year long. The rest of the team should also take a significant portion of the blame, as only a few players can hold their heads high and say that they gave their all to the Juventus cause.

Once again the Coach should and probablywill be held accountable for that as well, but it can easily be concluded that Ronaldo met and probably even exceeded the expectations after his move to Turin.

CR7 was expected to bring goals and he did. He was also expected to deliver in the big Champions League games, and despite his slow start, he eventually did that as well.

What came as a bonus was his overall attitude, dedication and mentality that instantly turned him into one of the biggest leaders of this Juventus. So the answer to the question is simple - it’s not him who fell short. It’s the team and the Coach around him.

Have your say...
Allegri failed to deliver because he chose NOT to play fast players like Costa, Cancelo, Dybala, Kean etc enough in CL. And not he wants to sell them and buy old slow players. Dybala must stay.
on the 17th May, 2019 at 11:06am
Yes @Jeremy. In the end, We can only wait and see. However, I'm a positive minded fan and you're the opposite. I can only smile because Ronaldo is a magnet. His presence will bring other world class players to Juventus. No doubt about it. Next season is gonna be fun. Cheers.
on the 15th May, 2019 at 10:57am
@Giancarlo C's Mom
Well I am able to admit that from European competition view point the only hope of an italian side winning champs league is Juve. You are dreaming and hoping if you think they will be any diffrent next year it will be exactly the same just more of the future stars will leave. You keep praying for a different project and the rest of us will see whats really happening. End of story will be with Juve winning even less and you holding a banner up for Ronaldo still hoping!!!
on the 14th May, 2019 at 10:29pm
@Jeremy, I don't really care of Dybala is gonna be sold or not. Truth is I only care of Juve, not the player. He can leave as long as Juve play better next season. It's kinda weird to see an AC Milan's fan cares so much of Juve.

Alright, you can condemn Ron as you like and I don't care of this drama. But, Ron deserves 2nd chance and next time I want Agnelli to bring out the best of Ronaldo by giving Allegri full power in choosing player that he REALLY needs in this project. End of story.
on the 14th May, 2019 at 2:31am
No big deal?? Of course it's a big deal because players like Dybala are goimg to be sold for your 2 or 3 years of Ronaldo.
Valid points about the 'business' but answering the article- he delivered nothing more than Juve had already done but looked worse doing it.
If you are talking about selling dolls and t-shirts of Ronaldo then yes you're correct but i are talking about Juve winning less.
Juve win; it's praise Ronaldo, Juve lose; and its the other 10 mens fault and parise Ronaldo!
on the 13th May, 2019 at 10:25pm
@Jeremy, Juve are stupid? LOL

I say Juve under Agnelli are bold and brilliant. Age doesn't matter, superstars like Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo are goal and money making machine (nowadays, football is more of a business than a sport). 3 years of Ronaldo's service should be enough for Juve to get huge profits on and off the field.

"he is the reason Juve won less!" - partially true. But no big deal. Just feed him next season with good midfielders, problem solved.
on the 13th May, 2019 at 4:03am
Giancarlo C's Mom
He is 34 thats why Real got rid. Only Juve are stupid enough to spend 100m on him.
You say he is the reason Madrid wkn nothing this year... I say he is the rrason Juve won less!
on the 12th May, 2019 at 4:44pm
@Jeremy, I'm sorry but you seem don't understand what Juve is doing. Agnelli wants to transform Juve into Real Madrid 2.0, start with stealing their main star: Ronaldo. What have Real Madrid done to get 3 CL trophies in 3 years? The answer is they "FEED" Ronaldo, Real Madrid built a squad around him and it worked. So there is no need to dramatize. The team got 1 of 3 targets. Chill! This team will hugely improve next season IF Agnelli still has faith in Allegri and give him what the coach needs.
on the 12th May, 2019 at 12:26pm
Ronaldo was the actual problem. Juve looked horrible all session. Why? Ronaldo. Circle an entire system around one man and you get the failure of this season.
Last year they looked diffent, they flowed, they passed, moved, manzu, Dybala, infact everyine played as a team. Then Ronaldo arrived; suddenly its all about Ronaldo breaking scoring records and 10men aiming to serve Ronaldo. When he played it's give it to Ronaldo and when he wasn't they were utterly lost!!! Juve AND Ronaldo failed!!!!
on the 12th May, 2019 at 9:31am
As usual,critics fail too see the main problem that Juve has this season.They tend to make it sounds complicated and sometimes they don't even know what they're talking about.

It's as clear as day that Juve's real problem is the midfielders.Simple as that.

And Ronaldo...There is nothing wrong with Ronaldo. Give him a break!This guy is what Juve need for so long.To haters,don't be jealous.On and off the field,He's doing great job.Juve's project with "REAL" superstar like Ron has just began.
on the 12th May, 2019 at 1:09am
Ronaldo is already a proven winner. Your problem is the coach and the way the midfield plays is "very weak". Its not hard to be a winner in Serie A. Milan have no quality and Inter and Napoli are nothing but jokes. Those are the facts.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 9:17pm
Italian teams are allergic to pace and power. That’s why English teams destroy them. Arsenal batter Milan. Tottenham spank inter. Man U slap Juve around for fun. Liverpool stamp on Napoli’s throat.

The only hope for Juve is Mourinho. Inter were a joke before him and after him just like Juve.

Funny how ppl on here use to say it’s because of money. Yet Juve and inter and Milan have money but still get spanked for fun.

The league is dead. Italian teams are whipping boys in the CL.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 6:49pm
Italian tactics? I agree they are master tacticians when the tactic is to lose to a European team. Juve spank Italian teams week after week as they roll over. In Europe Juve struggle with Young Boys. People saying that Ajax was a missed opportunity? What do you think would have happened if we played Tottenham? They would have spanked Juve. If we fluked it past them we’d have Liverpool. Liverpool would literally stamp their crest onto the Juve players’ foreheads.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 6:45pm
Italian football is so slow and boring that a team like Juve get accustomed to that type of footy. Week in week out they face submissive defensive teams that let them have the ball. That results in slow thinking, low energy levels and lack of creativity. In England and Spain you have to be tough, think fast and be creative to break down strong defences.

When Juve then play a European team they are shocked by the fact the team actually fights back and doesn’t just roll over like in Italy.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 6:42pm
Ronaldo delivered. Juventus failed like they have failed for god knows how many years. This isn’t a Ronaldo problem. It’s an Italian problem. The Italian football culture is one of submission, sloppiness, slow paced, boring football. Italian football teams lack character.

Spanish teams have the technique and passion and heart. English teams have huge levels of heart and energy. Italian footy payers just want to play for ten minutes then have a rest.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 6:38pm
Who is Serie A and Coppa top-scorer after scratching penalties?
on the 11th May, 2019 at 9:11am
Why the hell is everyone saying get Gasperini? Awful choice. have we forgotten his stint at Inter? He BELONGS at Atalanta.
As for CR7 he was no let down. He proved he can still rock it in different league and club. Who really failed was the coach. Juve 2x CL finalists without CR7, with him eliminated in quarterfinals....nearly before that if not for CR7 ! He was the the ONLY highlight of Serie A 18/19.
What’s more sad is how poor English teams make Serie A look with an all English finals.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 4:26am
I believe Agnelli erred in signing R-7. Juve reached 2 CL finals & won domestic doubles w/o R-7. With him? Eliminated by Ajax in CL quartersm & Atal., in Coppa Italia. R-7 scored goals but he stiffled others including Dybala. The tandem of Higuain & Dybala was stronger. R-7 didn't score on a single free kick, didn't earn a single PK call & trails Quagliarella who is older than he is. I believe he sucked the air out of Juve. Although w/o stronger mids & younger cent. defenders Juve cannot win CL.
on the 11th May, 2019 at 2:17am
Ronaldo has had a very good first season and proved to everyone he was worth the money they invested.
The rest of the players needed to perform to the same level.
Everyone is blaming Allegri for his tactics and not letting players have freedom to go forward,but if the players are not performing basic tasks.This season free kicks and corners have been very poor.So before people start pointing the finger at the manager,take a look at all the players first!!

on the 11th May, 2019 at 1:45am
Only mistake that happened to ronaldo's adventure to serie a is following the real madrid module of using ronaldo. Taking penatly he desereve it but here in juve after juninho and pirlo maestro like pjanic was in stand to take care of freekicks. Use him rather like when he was in man utd; adjustable and managable. Sometimes as a part of striking duo with dyabala or manduzik and sometimes left or right or centre or complete rest.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 10:31pm
There are two things to be said about this Juventus team this season. First Ronaldo did what he was brought in to do score important goals and thats what he did. Second You need to play as a team to win and this year we didnt do that. If it was last years team + Ronaldo then we would have won the CL. I do think missing Chelo and Mandzukic was big, but still there is no excuse. Once we lost to Young Boys in the Group Stage I knew something was wrong with team spirit.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 9:43pm
@Khalid the success of Ronaldo and the rest of team are not mutually exclusive. It's about playing Ronaldo in a way that he can have maximum impact - the way Zidane managed. Allegri was right to play him a lot at the start of the season for the team to gel with him but that got of out of hand to the detriment of Dybala and Douglas Costa's output. Ronaldo can complement our team perfectly but he doesn't have to play all the time.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 7:28pm
Bring Gasperini To Juventus and he will resurrect a badly needed 3 man defense with Chiellini-Bonucci-Rugani and Spinazzola with Alex Sandro as wing-backs ....with the option of Bernadeschi and Cuadrado with Mandzukic, Ronaldo, Kean and Dybala we have enough talent to get the job done in Europe we just needs a coach that will prep this team and get the max out of them. He just needs 5 games to get rolling so don't pull an Inter and fire him after 4 games :P
on the 10th May, 2019 at 5:43pm
In my opinion, the board probably made it clear to Allegri that it was fundamental Ronaldo has a successful season regardless of what the overall team achievements may be. A flopping Ronaldo would ruin the marketing buzz and inevitable stream of revenue from his costly transfer. Thus Allegri played a Juve team to the strengths of Ronaldo and not to the strengths of the entire team as a whole. The result was the decline of some of Juve's strongest players, most notably Dybala.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 5:03pm
I fully agree with the article. Ronaldo will probably only be in Italy for one or two more seasons so let's make the most of him and build a team around him worthy of his greatness. Saying all that, the loss of Chiellini and Mandzukic against Ajax was critical and had a huge effect on the outcome. Then again you need a lot of luck to progress in these competitions - as all the English clubs have so perfectly proven.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 4:31pm
100% correct. A damning verdict of Allegri’s style of football and the undeniable truth that a lot of the current Juve squad are just not good enough for the jersey. Ronaldo has done what was asked of him, Agnelli needs to man up and clear out those that don’t move the project forward - starting with Allegri who has taken the team as far as he can.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 3:53pm
So the answer to the question is simple - it’s not CR7 who fell short.

It’s the cowardly coach around him called Max Allegri who is culpable, and must be fired.

on the 10th May, 2019 at 3:03pm
Juve remind me of the Bayern team over the last few years and Real Madrid of this season in the CL - tired, ageing and still hoping a team passed it's peak in key areas, will be sufficient enough to win the CL because of Ronaldo. The major difference being that both Bayern and Madrid had a fair excuse for their declines - they both won the tournament - BUT Juve haven't!

Worst decision Juve made was re-signing an undeserving, past-his-best Bonucci who will probably remain until he's 40...
on the 10th May, 2019 at 2:52pm
And in terms of management, Juve need someone new with fresh ideas.

Conte isn't the solution he tried and failed in Europe what could he add now? He would be managing a weaker starting 11 than one he had during his last spell at Juve, only with Ronaldo!

The idea of Pochettino, Gasperini, Jardim all who are proven to be good managing youth and making smart transfers, as well as playing progressive football is the way forward. Guardiola would be perfect but timings don't necessarily fit for him.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 2:37pm
A lot needs addressing within the club... Allegri is too conservative. The team is ageing and the midfield is weak but yet we hear reports they'll revamp the forward line with overrated attention-seeking Icardi and Martial - again overlooking Kean who has proved he's capable (oddly if he was French and playing for Monaco Juve would be trying to sign him).

They desperately need new CB's and two top class CM's aside from Ramsey. Chiesa should be the only priority upfront to replace D. Costa.
on the 10th May, 2019 at 2:26pm

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