Is Ronaldo the final piece in the Juventus puzzle? Three seasons later, that doesn’t seem to be the case
Cristiano Ronaldo’s lightning kick against Juventus may go down as the best Champions League goal ever scored. The time, method, and importance of the goal, is definitely not better. As he celebrated that day, a sea of Juventus fans in the stadium gave him a standing ovation. They admire him, the man who always turns up on big nights, but in the back of the mind of all Juventus people is one thing: they have been kicked out of the Champions League again. Even after dominating the Serie A for nearly a decade, Buffon and Co have yet to win the Champions League once.
But at that time, the answer seemed to be clear to the management of Juventus. They should have signed Ronaldo. Who else can help them win the line other than Mr Champions League himself? He made many impressive appearances for Real Madrid and Manchester United, and he led them to the Champions League. Could he be the last piece in this puzzle?
Three seasons and three Champions League spoils later, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Juventus is worse. Their goalscoring record has plummeted and Serie A is about to be lost to Conte’s Inter Milan. So what happened to the mighty Elder? There was no single answer, but a series of successive decisions that led to this moment.
The signs are already there in Maurizio Sarri’s season at Juventus. Even though they won the league, it was definitely not a good situation. Losing 18, yes EIGHTEEN points from the winning position and getting a huge 43 goals, Juventus barely defend the title by one edge one from the runner up. Losing their UCL tie to Lyon and the Coppa Italia last time out, it was clear that Sarri’s plan was not going to work. His quick one-touch style with an attacking streak was not there even after a full season.
Had he stayed longer, it is very possible that Juventus might play like Sarri’s Chelsea or Napoli, as such systems require more time to develop, especially when the team changes from a poor style of play. But he was eventually fired, and replaced by the famous midfield maestro, Andrea Pirlo.
Meanwhile, Pirlo came with no experience in management, but the plans he gave to the Juventus hierarchy meant a lot. The team will create a very strong line with a third man to run, so that there are fake plays on the field, pulling the line behind the opposition but it will reach the edge balls like Ronaldo and Morata. The plan relies on quick thinking, technical skills, and most importantly, the power of the middle ground.
But that’s where the problem begins. Although a strong attacking midfield is needed, Juventus does not have players that perform well. Aaron Ramsey, Arthur, Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie, all four have not reached the mark in terms of production and the midfielder has been dominated many times during the season, especially at the hands of Inter Milan. Even with Ronaldo and Morata scoring goals every week, the level of creativity has dropped and the midfield has felt sluggish in the game as the players pass to the side or back.
Perhaps all these things could have been solved by the manager. After all, Chelsea and their central struggles have scored a good number of goals, and the same can be said about Tottenham. But Pirlo’s lack of experience is a big problem. He has never operated on a plane before and is under a lot of pressure. He not only needs to see the change, but also to make decisions in terms of the management of the person and the game to keep Juventus relevant in the competitions in which they are competing. Pioli, all of them are sure that I am more stable than him.
Juventus sit third, ten points behind leaders Inter Milan. According to the current situation, it seems that they will not be able to jump to the throne again. The end of the Round-of-16 Champions League was not the best for Pirlo to get on his debut. But things are not so dark. Their scoring numbers have improved significantly over the course of the season, while their deep game stats have also increased. They are a team in transition but the process seems very promising.
Pirlo seems to have a plan for this team. Even if Juventus is ready to lose the title, the better option is to let Pirlo carry out his plans for another season, and support him with the players he needs to do that. Ronaldo is also there, and the truth is that he is a trumpet to get teams out of difficult situations, as he has done for a long time. The situation can definitely be revived and provided that the club management makes the right decisions, Juventus can survive the fate that faced Manchester United 7 years ago.
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