Can Ronaldo deliver on his Champions League promise to Juventus this season?
Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018. It was for a record fee of $149million in a deal that somewhat surprised the footballing world.
In 2019, a year after his move to the Italian Serie A, Ronaldo made a promise to Juventus, stating that the club will emerge Champions League winners.
“Juventus will win the Champions League,” the great Portuguese said in 2019. “I don’t know if it’ll be this year or the next, but it’s coming.”
It’s easy to understand why he made that promise. Ronaldo is arguably the Champions League greatest ever player. He’s the tournament’s highest goalscorer in history and has won five titles: one with Manchester United and four with Real Madrid, which includes a historic, mind-boggling three-peat.
He owned the competition in a way most people have never seen before. Ronaldo turned matches around almost all by himself. Hattricks here, braces there and Real Madrid were on their way to finals. It was almost a certainty between 2016 and 2018.
So, when he made the switch to Italy, there was the hope that Juventus – who were last victorious in 1996 – were going to emerge winners again, after over two decades.
However, things have been quite different since Ronaldo’s move to the club. They have only been able to make the quarterfinals of the Champions League once. Last season, they fell short in the Round of 16.
The team has struggled in Europe but there’s a new ray of hope. Massimiliano Allegri has returned to the club. The Italian coached Juve to two Champions League finals – in 2015 and 2017. He’s a successful manager and his system should bring about improvements at the club.
Together with Ronaldo, they could make things work. The Portuguese will be 37 in February next year – which is usually the peak of the Champions League campaign. Hopefully, he can roll back the years one more time on the European stage and bring immeasurable joy to the Old Lady.