Are Juventus truly a better team with Cristiano Ronaldo?
Background photo: Валерий Дед CC BY 3.0
When we conquer a town, there is always the desire to move forward and conquer a city. That's why it's really no surprise to see Juventus becoming so desperate to win the Champions League - as domestic success has become something less special and less motivational for the Old Lady.
Eight consecutive Serie A titles and five Coppa Italia triumphs within the same course clearly depicts how dominant the Bianconeri have been across Italy. Coupling that with the fact that they've claimed a total of seventeen trophies within the last eight years, it's impossible to argue that Juventus belong in any class other than that of the elites.
However, their bone of contention lies in Europe where they've failed to triumph in the Champions League despite reaching the finals twice in the last five years. Juve last won the continental crown in 1996 and the failure to return to the summit of European football since then has placed the club in a somewhat desperate situation.
In a bid to overcome this challenge, the Old Lady turned their attention to a thirty-four-year-old well-known superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo - a talismanic figure and a proven winner in the Champions League with five triumphs to his name - to help them maintain their domestic balance and ultimately grant them the much-needed edge in Europe. Following his record third successive Champions League success with Real Madrid last year, Ronaldo eventually switched to Turin in a deal worth €100million during the summer.
The Portuguese wasted no time in making his impact felt in Italy. With his influence, Juventus were winning games with ease in the Serie A and shortly after the middle of the term, it became clear to everyone that they would go home with the Scudetto once again.
That's what eventually happened. Ronaldo and Juve ran riot on their way to claiming another league crown with a lead of 11 points over second-placed Napoli. But, unfortunately, they failed in their ultimate target of conquering Europe following their embarrassing elimination from the Champions League by Ajax in the quarter-finals.
They also fell short in the Coppa Italia, crashing out of the tournament after losing 3-0 to Atalanta - an experience that rubbed more salt to their wounds and further exposed their inconsistency. These shortcomings have, therefore, forced many to ask if Juventus are truly a better team with Ronaldo on their side.
2 titles 🏆🏆
Most ⚽️ & 🎯 for Juve
3rd in Serie A until now (5 less apps than the top scorer & hence 5 less goals)
Stunning comeback hattrick
We go again next szn with the aim of UCL this time.
Prove them wrong again idolo 🐐 https://t.co/XTVDq3Ec6Q
Let's start the analysis with the Serie A campaign. Truly, Ronaldo played an influential role in Juve's Scudetto triumph but it shouldn't be forgotten that the major objective for his signing was not to win the league. Without him, the Bianconeri have ruled the division for the last eight uninterrupted years and there's no doubt they would win it again in his absence.
Even the Coppa Italia, which the club has won for the last four successive seasons, was lost during the term despite Ronaldo's presence - a point that suggests the club has moved a step backwards from where they were last year.
The biggest parameter to measure Juventus' Ronaldo experiment is, without doubt, the Champions League. When the attacker was signed, there was only one motive behind it - win the continental crown.
This isn't to say that Ronaldo didn't prove his class. The attacker single-handedly helped Juve to overturn a 2-goal deficit against Atletico Madrid in the last sixteen - and recorded 6 goals to his name during the course of the tournament. However, the fact that he scored all of Juve's goals in the knockout stage of the competition shows that Massimiliano Allegri's men did not impress as a team.
They relied too much on Ronaldo to decide the fate of games. He was the one that started almost every serious attacking move and there was no tactical approach than to send the ball to the flanks and cross it towards the Portuguese. While the attacker tried his best, the team is always greater than individuals, hence they fell to better teams as Atalanta and Ajax exposed their weaknesses.
Therefore, Juve needs to realise that they can still achieve their Champions League ambition with Ronaldo, but only if they get the right team behind him...