Friday November 15 2019
Who is the real Ronaldo?

How can Cristiano Ronaldo go from unfit Juventus disappointment to a Portugal hat-trick in a matter of days? Emmet Gates analyses the situation.

A penny for Maurizio Sarri’s thoughts last night upon seeing the supposedly injured Cristiano Ronaldo majestically curl a shot into the left-hand corner of the Lithuania goal in the 22nd minute. It was Ronaldo’s second of a hat trick – his seventh for Portugal since turning 30 – that went viral.  If he’s hurt, as Sarri maintains, he’s hiding it fairly well.

The game against Lithuania only deepened the confusion surrounding the Ronaldo and Sarri situation. CR7 was taken off with 10 minutes to go against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League nine days ago. Ronaldo put in a poor display, but 10 minutes before the end was understandable, Sarri needed him for the game against Milan and Lokomotiv were 23/4 to beat Juventus. Ronaldo didn’t take kindly to it, being that he recently revealed that if it were up to him, he’d only play in Champions League fixtures for Juventus.

Then came that decision against Milan, Ronaldo was off after 55 minutes. This was uncharted territory, and he wasn’t going to hang around and sit on the bench in an oversized coat on a chilly Turin night. He went straight down the tunnel, got changed and was back home before the game even ended. Presumably, he wanted to beat the traffic.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos publicly declared Ronaldo was fit in the lead up to the Lithuania match, and whilst last night’s opponents – with all due respect – are hardly one of the toughest teams Ronaldo will come up against this season, you get the sense that lines in the sand are being drawn between Ronaldo and Sarri. Injured; not injured, this needs to be quashed rather quickly.

In truth, Sarri has been vindicated in his recent decisions. Juve looked better when Ronaldo wasn’t on the pitch against Lokomotiv and Milan, and went on to win both games without him. Paulo Dybala replaced him against Milan, and scored the winner, with a nice shimmy and right foot finish.

Ronaldo has been quite poor for Juve this term, and even stretching into the back end of last season, his form has been questionable (only two Serie A goals in the final three months of 2018-19).

It must be said that Juve haven’t caught the eye in general. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you’d think they were still coached by Max Allegri. They’re grinding out results in a typically Juve-like manner, not exactly what Sarri was hired for.

There have been fleeting moments of Sarri-dust, for instance the first half against Napoli in August and in the Derby d’Italia with Inter, but for the most part they’ve been rather stodgy. In an ironic twist, The Old Lady looks more menacing, more fluid, when Gonzalo Higuain and Dybala are paired together, two players that the club desperately tried to offload in the summer.

Stylistic issues aside, Ronaldo has been uncharacteristically below par when it comes to finishing chances. He’s missing opportunities that a year ago would’ve been put away in a heartbeat. His heading ability - a Ronaldo specialty – has been particularly off-kilter. Six goals in all competitions represents Ronaldo’s least productive season at this stage in the last decade.

Yet Juve didn’t buy Ronaldo to score goals in November, that we all know. Juve expect Ronaldo to be hitting his stride in March and April, but with both Sarri and Ronaldo seemingly entrenching themselves in their positions, and with Leonardo Bonucci stating that the players will talk to Ronaldo about his walk-out after the international break, the waters around the Allianz Stadium could become even more muddied in the next several weeks.

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Have your say...
Say what you want, Ronaldo was and is a great player with the statistics to prove it.
Yes he is older now and his game is tempered by the defensive nature of italian football. Perhaps his lack of scoring recently is due to the aging players of Juventus who are not adept at getting the ball to CR7 as in the past.
It is still a team game and there are few players who have perfomed in "Big"games as he has. How many trophies has he held in his career. Few players come close.
on the 23rd November, 2019 at 12:07am
Vecchio uomo a la vecchia dama. Sincerely, the man is finished. He completely disbalances but the distraction caused by his sole presence on the pitch cannot be denied. However, he has turned into one of the most predictable player and a strange tendency to cause turnovers and waste clear opportunities by shooting it hard and misaimed. Revoke his penalty-taking duties and he'd barely make it to the double digits. Dybala and Higuain are a pair of another world.
on the 18th November, 2019 at 3:21pm
Some of the best players in the world have failed in Italy. It isn't because it's a bad league it's because it is tough where football is football not running around like headless chickens. I wish Ronaldo went to Italy earlier in his career because Serie A would have sorted him out much earlier and we wouldn't have this egotistic twit running around like he is God.
on the 17th November, 2019 at 9:22am
The real Ronaldo....
An ego bigger than Italy. A man who not only thinks he is bigger than the club but bigger than football. He is Selfish and the reason o many people want Juve fail so badly; imagine Juve winning a the Champions League in his head it would be because of him to the world it will be because of him the only reason Portugal won that final was because Ronaldo wasn't playing. He bring instability and a one track style of play. Get rid.
on the 17th November, 2019 at 9:17am
@Gee Anonymous are basically 1-bit NPC neanderthals and trolls, ignore them.

Then again, we have world-class douchebags and troglodytes like spirit-willy, and a recent graduate of brainless academy, niscist... with such pathetic attempts at a pseudo-identity, they're not so different/enabled than these ridiculous Anons...
on the 17th November, 2019 at 7:43am
Gee: Was thinking the same. What we know for sure, is that Juve were relegated to serie B in 2006. We dont know is that is the same person or not.
on the 17th November, 2019 at 1:22am
Why Juventas are so insistent on playing him as a cf when at real madrid he played left or right in a trident? He needs marcelo,, ozil,, and benzema to sacrifice for himself just as likewise messi......#stardomfact
on the 16th November, 2019 at 4:55pm
Costa Dyabal & Higuan should play infront. This overrated Ronaldo should be sent back to Portugal
on the 16th November, 2019 at 3:15pm
All theses comments on by Anonymous, are they different people or the same person?
on the 16th November, 2019 at 1:15pm
it will not be long, until Cr7 Scores a goal for Juventus and wins the game,all will be forgotten> Sarri needs to find more space for Ronaldo and on the other hand CR7 needs to put all the opportunity beyond the net.Sarri could have taken Ronaldo out, at the end of the first half, or should have gave him another 15 minutes on the pitch. We are talking about the #1 in the world and when Capello alludes at Ronaldo not been able to dribble past a player what about the A.Madrid game??
on the 16th November, 2019 at 4:35am
CR7+Can for Neymar, a win win?
on the 16th November, 2019 at 4:00am
They should send this loser back to Portugal where he comes from. Overrated selfish piece of garbage. This is why they label anybody outside of Italy greats because they don't want to come to Italy to be proven what they really are. Look at Pele. To compare him to totti is insulting to Rome. Scores worthless goals and la Liga is garbage like him. Maybe he can go to French league and score a bunch like mbappe who is also worthless.
on the 16th November, 2019 at 2:14am
I have been the biggest fan of the football italia website, ever since the beggining. I think an article about Ronaldo's decline should have been written at least before sunday. Seems like football italia has too many Juve fans emploeeys. There is no reason to protenct Ronaldo. He's has had a really bad season so far, and there should have been at least a couple articles about it. No reason to make this one after a Ronaldo Hattrick against minnows Lithuania.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 11:36pm
@anon Hates it in Italy? I'm not sure about that. He was raving about the family atmosphere last season but most importantly Juve are the perfect club for his work ethic. Turin is a quiet place to get your head down and work hard and the club atmosphere is very much geared toward that.

Juve are the best club for Ronaldo to squeeze out the maximum juice he has left and I hope he keeps going as long as Totti did.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 11:09pm
Italy system is far more difficult then La Liga. So he is lost and as a baby when you are handed and gifted everything he seemingly is discontent and crying. He should be scrubbed from record books overshadowed some many better players during his time and the media is complicent in this clown, baby over rated scrub.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 10:45pm
I mean seriously anybody with a half a brain can see this is corporatism at its best. There are so many players out there more talented and better at the game. In La Liga he was gifted everything lets not talk about UCL where 2 out of 3 were stolen by Real Madrid, but then again reporters/journalists tow the line. Messi by far is superior at the game then this fool. On top of that add arrogance pompous and selfishness everything for a great player.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 10:42pm
Ronaldo majestic, emmit Gates you shoudl write about the most overrated player in the world. Zlatan said it best you dont go to Juve to make a team better. Maradona is the GOAT came to a team facing close to relaegation every year and on his own took them to the top. Lets not talk about Argentina. I mean all the journalist talk about him like he is great what he really is a marketing god for the corporate giants. He is rubbish at best. Score great goals against amateur teams.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 10:39pm
Remember when Ronaldo wouldn't celebrate at Madrid and kept putting his finger to his mouth everytime he scored. Many people thought it had to do with the 75% of kids unemployed in Spain but it turned out he just wanted more money. Listen, the very thing that makes Ronaldo seem like an entitled idiot is the same thing that drives him to be the best, his ego.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 9:32pm
There's a different perspective that Juve fans aren't considering. Juve hit a wall with growth. They could not grow in stadium ticket sales, in merchandising shirt sales, in Serie A broadcasting rights, nor in Champions League victory prize money. The only way to grow was to PARTNER with a brand like CR7 which, has proven successful thus far.

This is a partnership of two brands and cannot be viewed as any other player. It has to benefit both parties. You play to Cristiano strengths or you fail!
on the 15th November, 2019 at 9:25pm
1) Every team in Italy plays like it's a freakin' World Cup / UCL final against Juventus. Straight after they concede 2-0 or 3-0 losses.

2) Comparing a lowly Lithuania side to most Serie A sides, really? Ok Boomer.

3) It's a matter of different systems... Portugal play to help CR7 score, but Juventus have to play to help Juventus win, irrespective of who scores. That's why Higuain and Dybala have scored, not just CR7.

4) Concentrate on important topics like how to reduce racism in Serie A
on the 15th November, 2019 at 8:39pm
Now that he cannot changes games like he did in the past, the disgusting attitude is noticed by more people. He doesn't care to even play in Serie A, presumably because he thinks it's beneath him unlike "his" tournament, the champions league. He's done being a world beater so I don't think clubs should cater to this martyr anymore.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 7:13pm
Ronaldo has not looked happy for a while. I have a feeling he hates it in Italy, hates Juventus but he would never "fail" at a club and leave, not his style. He's acting like a baby and to the detriment of the club. He does not care about Juventus at ALL, he only has his own agenda and Juve is just the cracker with which to eat the meat. He's more arrogant, more entitled and frankly playing like a damn scrub. He's a caner, a poison, always was. Before, he could change games so it was overlooked.
on the 15th November, 2019 at 7:10pm
I mean no disrespect to Lithuania but they were easy pickings in comparison to Juventus opponents. The Portuguese National side is Ronaldo and the style of play suits him very much. Not sure if he’s adapted 100 percent under Sarri , reintroduction of Higuain possibly doesn’t work alongside Ronaldo , not on the same wavelength. Maybe along side Dybala could spark more magic and goals .!
on the 15th November, 2019 at 6:11pm
I think this 2 important factors, Ronaldo's age.... and that serie a is actually harder to succeed in. Look at Salah, even he says that Roma were concerned about his finishing so he had to improve, did so and then liverpool benefited. It also hard to use la liga as a bench mark forlan, megastar in Spain joke in epl at man u. I also think dybala has proven his worth, the 10 should have his place back and cr7 should have to fight for it...
on the 15th November, 2019 at 4:57pm

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