Shadows looming over Ronaldo’s Juventus future

by | May 17, 2021 12:37 | Editorial, Juventus

When Cristiano Ronaldo was subbed off in Juventus’ last home game of the season against Inter on Saturday, he showed little sign of frustration.

He walked off the pitch and made his way to the Juventus bench, nestled in the stands of the Allianz Stadium. It was the second time Andrea Pirlo replaced him this season, the first in a Serie A game.

One-and-a-half-years earlier, he had stormed off the pitch when Maurizio Sarri replaced him during Juventus-Milan and showed at other times to be reluctant to be subbed off, as he’s always been during his career.

When Cristiano Ronaldo was subbed off in Juventus’ last home game of the season against Inter on Saturday, he showed little sign of frustration.

He walked off the pitch and made his way to the Juventus bench, nestled in the stands of the Allianz Stadium. It was the second time Andrea Pirlo replaced him this season, the first in a Serie A game.

One-and-a-half-years earlier, he had stormed off the pitch when Maurizio Sarri replaced him during Juventus-Milan and showed at other times to be reluctant to be subbed off, as he’s always been during his career.

Many would argue this is the attitude of a top player. This is the attitude of a born winner. Pirlo went even further, saying the Portuguese talisman was happy to be subbed off.

However, what really matters is not what one thinks, but what one does. And what Ronaldo did, five minutes after being subbed off, was to walk towards the tunnel, watch the game for a few minutes from the sidelines, then head inside the dressing room.

While referee Gianpaolo Calvarese was committing all sorts of mistakes amid random penalty decisions, VAR reviews and red cards,  Juventus reserves were buzzing and jumping during the final minutes of the game.

In the meantime, their best player, and supposed leader, was in the dressing room, waiting for the game to finish.

Seeing Cristiano Ronaldo far away from his teammates mirrored the perceived distance between the former Real Madrid striker and the rest of the dressing room.

After the game, former Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero noticed not every Juventus player ran to celebrate with Ronaldo after he had scored the opener against the Nerazzurri. A few days earlier, La Gazzetta dello Sport had reported the Portuguese star is ‘isolated’ in the Juventus dressing room.

According to the report, a few Juventus players are annoyed as the former Manchester United man is being given too much freedom by Juventus and is sometimes allowed to miss training sessions.

The last time was the day after Juventus’ 3-0 defeat against Milan when he joined Andrea Agnelli and John Elkann in visiting the Ferrari factory in Maranello.

During Maurizio Sarri’s tenure, the Portuguese reportedly refused to take part in tactical sessions, which has sometimes happened under Pirlo as well.

The last piece of the puzzle was the Portuguese moving his cars away from his home in Turin on Sunday night. Many Juventus fans immediately thought it had something to do with his future away from the Old Lady, which is, of course, a possibility.

According to a report of Il Corriere di Torino, Ronaldo moved his cars for maintenance reasons, although his future in Turin remains up in the air.

His €31m-a-year deal expires in June 2022 and Juventus would need a sale in the region of €29m to not register a capital loss.

It must be noted that the 36-year-old is benefitting from the so-called ‘Growth decree’ that allows him to pay just €100,000 taxes on any income from abroad, such as sponsorship contracts.

His mother Dolores Aveiro said she would talk to Ronaldo, trying to convince him to move to Sporting Lisbon in the summer, but agent Jorge Mendes then suggested it is far too early to think about his return to Portugal.

Juventus’ last game of the season will say a lot about his future at Juventus. The Old Lady sit fifth, just one point behind Napoli and Milan, ahead of the final game of the season away at Bologna.

Missing out on a top four finish would lead to an inevitable departure of the Portuguese star after his third season in Italy.

His ambitions to play in Europe’s elite competition are indeed bigger than his desire for money. At the same time, a top four finish would not automatically guarantee his stay.

Many questions are still unanswered in the last week of the season at a club level. Can Juventus still afford his salary? If not, who can? And who can pay the Old Lady the money they want to sell their best player?

Vice president Pavel Nedved insisted last week Ronaldo would see out his Juventus contract.

However, more hints are suggesting this will be Ronaldo’s last week as a Juventus player. How he and the club find an escape route is a whole different story.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 NEWS

RELATED POSTS
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap