Thursday February 25 2021
Ronaldo flies high

Cristiano Ronaldo once again defied gravity, scoring with two towering headers against Crotone and Lorenzo Bettoni reckons there isn’t a better striker than CR7 when the ball is up in the air.

When Cristiano Ronaldo ran towards the corner flag for his usual celebration after his second goal against Crotone, every Juventus player shouted “Siuuuu” along with the Portuguese.

Ronaldo had seen Inter’s Romelu Lukaku leapfrog him on top of the Serie A top scorers with a goal against Milan and didn’t waste his chance to re-overtake the Belgian with a crucial brace against Crotone.

Juventus came off one of the worst weeks of Andrea Pirlo’s tenure. The back-to-back defeats against Napoli in Serie A and Porto in the Champions League were enormous blows for the Old Lady, who have an open account with Europe’s elite competition and want to win their tenth Serie A title in a row.

The Old Lady had a slow start against last-placed Crotone. They didn’t allow dangerous goal-scoring opportunities, except for a couple of tricky crosses wisely handled by Gigi Buffon, who made his 654th Serie A appearance.

The ball possession was too sterile and many players seemed tired after playing 15 games in 40 days. “It’s like playing half a season in little more than a month,” Pirlo put it in his pre-match press conference.

Nevertheless, it was Cristiano who came to the rescue at the Allianz Stadium with two goals in the space of seven minutes.

The first one came after a well-executed Alex Sandro cross from the left. Ronaldo squeezed between the visitors’ defenders to head home on the far post.

One could argue Crotone gave the Portuguese star too much space, but that’s what Ronaldo is about, as he’s always been able to find a gap between the opponents’ shirts and is still among the best finishers on the planet right now. When it comes to headers, though, the 36-year-old has no equals.

Ronaldo scored another headed goal before the break, yet again with a giant leap. It wasn’t as high as the one at the Luigi Ferraris, where he stunned Sampdoria’s defence by jumping 71cm off the ground and hitting the ball at 2.56m. Still, he remained up in the air for longer than his opponents and was able to score a goal that is easy only if you are him.

It’s not the finish itself that impresses, but the preparation that leads to it.

Cristiano works tirelessly on his fitness. As many of his current and former teammates often claim, he is the first to arrive at the training centre and the last one to leave. He leaves nothing to chance and he proves that on the pitch.

Surely, Ronaldo must not be happy with Juventus’ run of form and it is no coincidence he didn’t celebrate his first goal much.

They sit eight points behind league leaders Inter with a game in hand and need a win against Porto in two weeks to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals.

“In the last couple of years, we went home sooner than we wanted, but we continue to aim higher every season, and this year is no exception,” CR7 wrote on Instagram ahead of last week’s first leg clash in Portugal.

It didn’t go well for Juventus, who had a terrible approach both in the first and the second half, conceding two early goals.

In all honesty, Juventus’ start against Crotone was similar to the one shown in Champions League earlier last week.

Luckily for them, they didn’t commit the same mistakes, and they slowly got the right confidence that eventually led to Ronaldo’s first goal.

He wanted to score the third one before the break, but his shot was wide, and just for a reminder of his mentality, he left the pitch fuming after the first 45 minutes.

This evening, Pirlo succeeded where Maurizio Sarri had failed as Ronaldo played mainly as a centre forward rather than starting on the left flank to cut inside.

He helped an injured-hit team with Paulo Dybala on the sidelines and Alvaro Morata on the bench after suffering a severe stomach-flu.

He was dominant and probably he could have scored more in the second half, but Alex Cordaz thwarted him. Sometimes Ronaldo is so dominant you have the feeling he is his FIFA avatar in real life.

Crotone are the 78th different side Cristiano Ronaldo has scored against in the Top-5 leagues. Only Ibrahimovic has scored against more teams since 2000 with 79.

As Opta points out, Ronaldo has also netted against every opponent currently in Serie A.

He now has 25 goals in 28 games in all competitions and 88 in 116 matches with the Old Lady since he arrived in 2018.

Juventus need more flights from CR7 to remain in the title race until the end of the season and continue their European path as long as possible.

They signed Cristiano Ronaldo to lift the Champions League finally, but Juventus don’t seem as strong as they were when Cristiano landed in Turin.

However, this season more than ever, winning the Serie A title against Antonio Conte’s Inter would be quite an achievement.

One would argue that the Bianconeri would have won the last two Serie A titles without the Portuguese star. Surely, this Juventus side can’t do without Ronaldo if they are to achieve their targets.

Have your say...
Artur has now become Juves best midfielder, Mikennie has a place on this squad as for the rest they can all be gone! Juve need to improve in this area as they need to stop looking for strikers and start understanding we cannot win with this bunch of midfielders! Gone are the fantastic 4!! Now replaced under skilled over priced wage earners clearly not worthy of the Juventus Jersey
on the 24th February, 2021 at 3:15am
How much $$ can Juve spend in order to win the Scudetto and maybe the CL?
How much$$ can they lose in this Covid lockdown era when revenue is curtailed.
A team cannot contiously buy and hopefelly sell players hoping they perform and succeed as a team (ask Barcelona).This continuous talk of getting new players is wishful thinking. Juve has more than enough quality players to win, more than most. Kudos to Ronaldo who at 36 still competes like he never held a trophy, expensive but $$ well spent.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 9:38pm
CR7 Finally used his head yesterday! just wait until Juve are at full strength and then we can talk because playing on 3 fronts is alot more difficult than playing once a week.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 7:46pm
Ronaldo is the engine for Juve. His goal scoring rate is fantastic, and getting a brace hopefully will build him up after a poor run of the form the last couple of games.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 5:39pm
I am not a juve fan but its very simple bring in an italian core to the team & things will change quickly. Actually all seria a team need to do this. Reinstate italian player majority. Unfortunately Juve & others have been a big proponent of these rule change so that they can have numerous players on loan for big $$$. Italian players r high priced to begin with so with the foreign players there is more upside on growth financially, the media follows suit with their praise on worthless players
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 4:35pm
LucaC, I can also readily agree with Pinturicchio, because Pinturicchio makes extremely sensible statements which are also very practical. :-) LucaC, your statements on the other thread agreeing with a shameless troll like Token Bubble was what set me off. Can you not feed the trolls? The last thing Juventini need is turning on each other.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 3:22pm
Bentancur and Rabiot MUST MUST MUST go. They are just no Juve material. Rabiot cant seem to run for more than 10 minutes without needing a 20 mins break and is lazy. As for Benta, I have never seen a mf player with such bad feet and so vulnerable in posession. I have actually developed a medically incurable dislike for this guy as a player. He makes an already average Juve MF look even worse. Ramsey is worth keeping for another season until Juve can find a better player as a replacement.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 1:58pm
Fagioli should get a run in the first time. Maybe it was only gainst SPAL and crotone, but he's obviously really classy. We could really use his pinpoint passing, certainly when Arthur isn't fit.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 11:04am

Can't believe i'm saying this but I agree with you on every point. Auoar for Rabiot would be a huge upgrade, Ramsey will drain Juves wages for years to come offering little on the pitch, Bentancur isn't making the improvements required and Dybala, as much as I love him has to step up over the next 18 months or it's time to cash in. Locatelli, Arthur, Aouar would be a great midfield three with Mckennie as a rotation option
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 10:13am
Ronaldo scored 2 good headers yes but should have scored more and gave the ball away a few times. He's not in a good period of form. The big take away from yday's game should be Fagioli - the boy came on and for the second time in Juve colours dominated the centre of midfield with quality passing and composure. Given Bentancur cannot play the CM role, I would be starting Fagioli 100% next weekend - with the return leg vs Porto coming up, what have we got to lose?
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 9:37am
It's better to move Rabiot on, and get Aouar. Rabiot gets to go home and eat hors d'oeuvres and take a baguette from a bakery along the way home, but it's enough from him.

Locatelli at €40m seems very steep, but then €20m is the new "€10m minimum" so no way out there.

I'm all for giving Dybala a new contract, but next season has to be a definitive one - a Capocannoniere in Serie A or UCL. Otherwise it's very horrible to say this, but it's better to part ways amicably.

on the 23rd February, 2021 at 6:11am
Danilo is an awful player, it's a disgrace to call him a defender. Bentancur has had enough seasons under his belt to "mature" and it's ironic that he's failing his litmus test. Yesterday, just like versus Porto, he was clumsy with two left feet, he was caught in possession way too many times, and it's just not the kind of player Juventus like. I'm really tired of subpar players like Ramsey, Rabiot, and Bentancur. Ramsey will eventually turn out to be Khedira 2.0.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 6:04am
@RomeiroG You should take anything in this match with a grain of salt. It's Crotone, the weakest team in the league. Juve could've played McKennie and Frabotta as center back pairing and they'd still look good.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 2:13am
If his free-kicks were half as good as his headers one of them might make it over the wall.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 1:14am
Lorenzo bettoni go back to school of journalism not sure what so great about cr7 hasnt shown up in last few crucial gamea and they beat the last place team which ia a seria b side and this is what u write. Not sure how one win continually relaunches this poor excuse of a franchise. I mean all the reporters and headlines will say how great they r again and how great cr7 is great. So much more to write about then this.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 12:46am
Impressive how we play so much better defensively when De Ligt and Demiral play together.
on the 22nd February, 2021 at 10:46pm

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