Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers in the world of all time, and he has proved just how he good he is again this season in yet another different domestic football league. Having conquered the Premier League in England with Manchester United and La Liga in Spain with Real Madrid, Ronald set out to be the king of Italy’s Serie A with Juventus at the start of the season, and it must be said that the Portugal international forward has been a success.
Let’s go through the stats first. Ronaldo guided Juventus to yet another Serie A success with weeks of the season remaining, and he has scored 21 league goals and provided eight assists. All that in just 28 starts and one substitute appearance. In fact, Ronaldo could end up as the top scorer in the league this season, with Serie A betting odds on bet365 backing him to do so at 4/1.
In the Champions League, the 34-year-old scored six goals and provided two assists in nine matches. True, Juventus lost to Ajax in the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition, but it was Ronaldo’s stunning hat-trick against Atletico Madrid that saw the Bianconeri progress that far in the first place.
Ronaldo may be in his mid-30s, but the former Manchester United star remains at the peak of his powers and is still one of the best footballers in the world. What the Madrid legend has done is bring a lot of attention to Serie A and has made Italian football ‘cool’ again. For years, Italian football cried out for a global superstar, and Ronaldo is an icon. The Portuguese superstar has shown to the world that Italian football, despite being dominated by Juventus for the past eight years, remains a stage whereon the best players can perform.
However, Ronaldo simply cannot rest on his laurels, and must look forward to next season. Even without the 34-year-old, Juventus were guaranteed of winning the Scudetto. Ronaldo was signed for €100 million to bring home the Champions League, and there is unfinished business in that regard. It would be foolhardy and harsh to blame the Turin-based club’s failure in Europe solely on the shoulders of Ronaldo, but it is clear that for the Portuguese to become a legend in Italy and to be spoken about fondly in years to come, he has to deliver the Champion League for the Italian giants. Perhaps Massimiliano Allegri’s side underestimated Ajax, or maybe their failure was due to their inability to cope with the intensity and competitiveness in the latter stages of the Champions League as they simply run over teams in Serie A.
Juventus have a strong squad, but like any other top club, they need to refresh it and add fresh blood in the summer transfer window. Ronaldo is a goalscorer first and foremost, but this season, he has created chances for his Juventus teammates and has provided assists. Allegri needs to build his team around Ronaldo and, especially in the Champions League, set up his team to make sure that they find the Portuguese forward in the right positions and at the right time.