Saturday November 21 2020
More to Juventus than Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace against Cagliari doesn’t mean Juventus only depend on the Portuguese star as many other players start to shine for the Old Lady, writes Lorenzo Bettoni from the Allianz Stadium.

Seeing the scoresheet of Juventus-Cagliari, one would think the Bianconeri have once again managed to take home the three points only thanks to the usual, superb Cristiano Ronaldo.

CR7 scored twice in the first half to give the Serie A champions a deserved victory over a Cagliari side that paid a high price for only thinking about defending a goalless stalemate. Cristiano broke the deadlock with a screamer from the edge of the box and made it two shortly after steering inside the net a corner kick from the right.

Ronaldo had scored in each one of his first five league games only once, in 2014-15, when he eventually got 48 for Real Madrid. This season started off well for the Portuguese ace who netted eight goals in five Serie A games. He was absent for two matches as he tested positive for Covid while on international duty back in October.

Juventus, however, are much more than just Cristiano Ronaldo. Alvaro Morata had already proved it when CR7 was out of action. The Spaniard has six goals in the first nine games of the season and is Juventus’ second best scorer.

“The transitional period is over,” said Andrea Pirlo on the eve of the game and the performance of his players against Cagliari proved once again the Old Lady have found their way.

The Bianconeri were always aggressive and didn’t give Cagliari any time to breathe making it impossible for them to organize counter attacking action that could turn into goal scoring opportunities.

Matthijs de Ligt made his seasonal debut after recovering from a shoulder surgery he had sustained at the end of the last season. He easily controlled Giovanni Simeone and Cagliari’s attackers. The Dutchman was not only physically dominant but was also able to replace Leonardo Bonucci and build up the attacking actions from the back.

With Giorgio Chiellini still struggling with injuries, MDL will play a key role for Juventus this season. He will mainly partner Leonardo Bonucci once the Italy international returns from an injury but the defensive duo with Merih Demiral is likely to be the future of the Old Lady for the next few seasons.

Former Barcelona midfielder Arthur is also stepping up showing that quality Juventus desperately needed over the last few years. The Brazilian took some time to settle into Pirlo’s two-man midfield but his adaptation period seems to be almost over as he showed confidence with the ball at his feet, quality passes and great positioning skills that allowed him to often win the ball possession in the middle of the park.

Dejan Kulusevski is another player Pirlo can’t do without. With his jinking runs that make it difficult for opponents to understand when he would touches the ball and what he is going to do with it, the product of Atalanta academy was simply unstoppable at the Stadium and deserved a goal or, at least, an assist to crown a great game where he often cut inside down the right flank.

Add to that Danilo, who has been super consistent as a third centre-back this season, helping to create attacking actions from the back. The former City defender is the only Juventus man to have played every game so far this season. After gaining some self-confidence during the international break, Federico Bernardeschi’s performance against Cagliari was also a highlight. He had one goal disallowed and Cristiano Ronaldo's opener came at the end of a well-worked passing move that involved him and Alvaro Morata.

A win against a Cagliari side that had some key players out of action, such as Diego Godin and Naithan Nandez, is surely not enough to say the Old Lady have solved all their problems. Where would Paulo Dybala fit in Pirlo’s XI? Will they be as solid at the back when they face teams that have a more aggressive approach and force Juve to defend for longer inside the box? Do they have enough depth in midfield? These are all questions that Juventus will answer in the coming games.

For now, the win against the Sardinians means the transitional period may really be over, as Pirlo said, and that this Juventus side are not only depending on Ronaldo. The team seems to be improving under many aspects even if they often rely on Ronaldo’s goals to win games. Who else wouldn’t?


Have your say...
I guess Juve's real tests would be against Milan, Sassuolo and Napoli. But they looked solid against Cagliari.
on the 24th November, 2020 at 3:56pm
why do good young italian players go to these big italianclubs when they know they are only going to be bench warmers enrico chiesa is a good example being overlooked because of a average foriegn player
on the 24th November, 2020 at 11:30am
Injuries, new players, Covid and lack of a training camp for a new coach and tactics meant a rocky start. Yesterday showed what they are capable of and they still missed glorious chances. Once they are all firing, watch out! This team love playing for Pirlo.
on the 23rd November, 2020 at 8:08pm
The ability to finish in football is the key to success for any striker/forward. How often have you seen players miss easy goals within the goal area?
Ronaldo is one of the greatest players in history because he finishes with precision and confidence. At 35 years young, you can't name many other players that score and create like Ronaldo in SerieA or across Europe. Do not believe that he doesn't make a big difference for Juve( as does Ibra or Lukaku ) without him they become a very average team.
on the 23rd November, 2020 at 3:10pm
Juve have done well to reduce the average age of the squad and now only need 1-2 top class additions to be well set for the next 5 or so years. Top of the priority list now should be what to do with Dybala. Personally he'd be starting in place of Ramsey as the no.10 or in place of Morata up alongside Ronaldo. However Morata has far exceeded my expectations and Ramsey has also been good whilst Dybala has struggled. It pains me to say it but maybe it's time to cash in whilst he's still worth a lot
on the 23rd November, 2020 at 9:31am
Actually, it's Arthur who made me big smile. FINALLY, someone who can be considered as a real composer in midfield like Pirlo did long time ago. His present gave serenity to his team mates and that's a big thing.
on the 23rd November, 2020 at 4:35am
2/2 CR7 started the season on fire. Kula has been an absolute beast as well. A lot more to come from Chiesa. McKennie good prospect De Ligt coming back it's starting to look good!!!!!!!!!!!
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 7:37pm
Demiral is doing well there's no doubt but please guys he needs to do it with consistency before we wax too much lyrical. He's not been asked to be the regular first choice centre back yet. Let's see how he does but no doubt he's on the right track.
Arthur gonna be big for us - long time since we had someone as composed on the ball in midfield. Rabiot looking better.
Pirlo clearly gonna be able to give so much to the CMs' performances. 1/2
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 7:27pm
BTW, "Haaland's contract with the German club expires in 2024 and from 2022 it will be possible to activate a €75m clause to sign him"

So yeah, if he's still at Dortmund and not extending/removing the clause, we do have a chance to put our hat into the ring. Whether he would wanna join us is obviously another matter. Obviously, being a regular in the CL helps, and who knows, maybe Hauge might be able to persuade his mate to come over and join him at Milan ;) But, CL spot first!
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 12:54pm
de Ligt and Demiral aren't the future; they're the present. Bonucci isn't better than them anymore, if he ever was, and Chiellini, as good as he was, doesn't look the same player anymore.
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 12:50pm
Two things are certain about Juve: Chiellini will forever be injured. Demiral is much better than Bonucci.
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 12:31pm
Juventus have enough depth and need only one signing per year the next 2-3 seasons - and that has to be top five signings on the player's position.
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 10:04am
One swallow does not a summer make.
Juve played really well last, first time I have enjoyed a game in god knows how long,. I knew there would be a post here building it up. If they can do it for a run of games, do it against a big team then I will believe a corner is turned and not just a 1 off. In the end it still took Ronaldo to score, they did fall away 2nd half, they failed to finish many chances created.
on the 22nd November, 2020 at 7:15am

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