Cristiano Ronaldo --> Juventus; why it makes sense and how he would fit in
Some things in life just seem to go together, Laurel & Hardy, Donald Trump and controversy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid. Although initially a Sporting Lisbon product adopted by Manchester United, the 33-year-old’s legacy has become synonymous with Europe’s most successful club. All that is set to come to an end as the European Champions are considering an £88 million bid from Juventus.
You could be forgiven for thinking this was just another publicity stunt from the forward. Every once in a while, the Portuguese international seems to kick up a fuss in Madrid, with the saga ultimately ending up in a bumper new contract. However, the landscape seems to have changed this time.
Ronaldo is 33 and declining in his ability to be consistent over the course of a 38-game season. Los Blancos are more willing to sell the Portuguese superstar now than ever before. Meanwhile, the player is unhappy with the club’s lack of support during his tax trial. The culmination of those factors has resulted in the biggest transfer story of the summer.
Last year, the 33-year-old stated he aims to play at the top level till he’s 40. A move to Serie A could quite easily aid that ambitious goal. Put quite frankly, the Italian league is played at a slower pace than both La Liga and the Premier League. A move to Juventus is an easier move for the world’s best player than a move to the Premier League where the whole world would be watching his every move. Many believed (mostly United fans) that Ronaldo’s next destination would be Old Trafford. Ronaldo is smart enough not to allow Jose Mourinho to suck the joy from the last years of his career.
From a tactical point of view, everything is perfectly set up for Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus. Massimiliano Allegri has become famous for both his unprecedented success and tactical flexibility. Last season, the Italian Champions spent most of the season deploying a rigid 4-3-3. Allegri’s second favourite formation is the 3-5-2, born out of necessity rather than preference. He fell in love with this formation especially when he had Leonardo Bonucci. It also allowed Paulo Dybala play a more central role behind either Mario Mandzukic or Gonzalo Higuain.
What do the two systems have in common? Width. As the focus of Juve’s attack, Ronaldo would essentially operate as a target man with the main aim being to make runs in the final third and get on the end of crosses. The 33-year-old’s evolution into a limited number nine perfectly ties into the timing of this move.
Serie A is notorious for its laboured, slow-paced football, a style that will be ripped to shreds by Cristiano Ronaldo. The only element he may struggle with is the league’s incredibly defensive mentality. At least in Spain, even the smaller teams still seek to dominate the ball, thus leaving themselves open to the counter. In Italy, every team will be defensive, even the so-called big games are cagey and approached with caution. Luckily for Ronaldo, he’ll have Paulo Dybala to cover for him whenever he’s being marked out of the game by eight defenders.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus is a chance for him to still compete at the top level in what is perceived to be an easier league. The move will also act as a stop-gap for the 33-year-old before he inevitably takes over Major League Soccer.
I. Can’t. Wait.