Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci said the Old Lady players ‘subconsciously started to think’ Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence ‘was enough to win games’.
Ronaldo left Juventus after three seasons this summer and re-joined Manchester United after winning two Scudetti and one Coppa Italia with the Bianconeri.
The Portuguese superstar was brought to the Allianz Stadium in 2018 and was thought to be the missing piece in the Turin side’s hunt for a Champions League trophy.
Three coaches and three seasons later, Ronaldo left Juventus after scoring 101 goals in 134 games, including 14 from 23 games in the Champions League too.
But the reports of unrest at Continassa emerged and Ronaldo seemed set to leave the Bianconeri this year, as he moved his supercars away from Italy already before the European Championship.
The 36-year-old has continued to score at Manchester United, with four goals in four games, and Bonucci admitted the talisman had a subconscious effect on the players at Juventus.
“This was the thing,” Bonucci told The Athletic. “The idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory.
“Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us. Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.
“We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your team-mate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that.”
Despite his incredible record in Serie A too, Bonucci believes CR7 needed ‘the team as much as we needed him’.
“Last season, we finished fourth and won the Coppa Italia because we became a team again. If you had thrown a piece of wood in the dressing room before those games it would have caught fire such was the electricity running through it.
“We missed that. Maybe it was taken for granted that if we gave the ball to Cristiano, he’d win us the game.
“But Cristiano needed the team as much as we needed him. There had to be a trade-off because it’s the team that lifts the individual even if the individual is the best player on the planet.”
Ronaldo has scored 111 goals for the national team and won the Golden Boot at EURO 2020 this summer.