Since Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 for the second year running last week, rumours surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s future (or lack of it) at the club have been rife.
It’s no secret that the Italian giants lured Ronaldo to Turin in 2018 to make them much more favourable in the UEFA Champions League betting. However, it’s fair to say that Juventus’ chairman Andrea Agnelli’s big vision of the Portuguese superstar guiding The Old Lady to European glory has failed rather miserably.
Ronaldo arrived at Juventus for a whopping £105 million on the back of three successive Champions League triumphs with Real Madrid, but he hasn’t been able to have the same impact with the Serie A side. Juventus were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Ajax in the 2018/19 season, and two round-of-16 exits against Lyon and Porto have followed.
Of course, whilst a lot of fingers were pointed at Ronaldo after the Porto game, you can’t pile all the blame on the 36-year-old’s shoulders. All three of those sides are supposedly sub-par to the prowess of a club like Juve, yet the superior Italian outfit failed to get the better of any of them. Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri have had to bite the bullet for their shortcomings already and Andrea Pirlo could follow suit soon.
Juventus aren’t the only team that have stumbled since the move. Real Madrid have failed to get their hands on the Champions League since Ronaldo departed the Spanish capital three years ago. In fact, this year’s competition could be the first time that Madrid have progressed past round of 16 since the five Ballon d’Or winner left the club.
Talk of Ronaldo returning to the 13-time Champions League winners has stolen the headlines since Juventus’s exit to Porto, and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has added to fuel to fire with his recent comments on a potential move.
When asked about the rumours of a return to Santiago Bernabéu for Ronaldo, the former France international told Sky in Italy: “Yes, it may be true,
“We know Cristiano, we know the person he is and everything he has done here. But now he’s a Juventus player and we must respect this. Now, let’s see what the future will be. I was lucky enough to coach him and he is very impressive. Right now, he’s helping Juventus.”
However, in many ways, a move back to Madrid for Ronaldo has the same feel around it as his transfer to Juventus. Los Blancos have struggled in all competitions this season. They are dangerously close to conceding the La Liga title to their bitter rivals Atlético Madrid, whilst they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by minnows Alcoyano in the round of 32.
Even in the Champions League Madrid stumbled in the group stage and were lucky to even progress to the knockout stages. But their chances of going all the way to the Istanbul final and lifting the trophy for a record-extending 14th time is increasingly unlikely.
Madrid could look at Ronaldo like a quick fix to their problems, just like Juventus did in 2018. But Los Blancos must look at how that worked out for The Old Lady. It’s not guaranteed that their issues can be fixed by the 36-year-old.
Madrid must focus on transitioning their younger players into the squad to replace the aging Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and so on if they want to get back to their brilliant best. Bringing Ronaldo back into the mix probably isn’t the direction that the club need to go in right now.