JUVENTUS

Juventus fans turn on Cristiano Ronaldo as Champions League chances fade

Cristiano Ronaldo has gone three games without a goal for Juventus and fans have the sensation he has already made up his mind to leave Turin.

Juventus fans turn on Cristiano Ronaldo as Champions League chances fade
ALBERTO LINGRIA REUTERS

Juventus fans have started to question Cristiano Ronaldo’s commitment to the cause with the former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward seemingly intent on leaving Turin this summer. The Portuguese, who was signed in a bid to lead the Serie A giants to Champions League glory, failed to find the net for a third consecutive in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Fiorentina, which has left Juventus playing catch-up to even qualify for the competition next season. Ronaldo missed a golden opportunity to seal the win towards the end of the game when he was unmarked in front of goal but failed to turn in Dejan Kulusevski’s cross, the sort of chance he has put away with ease throughout his prolific career and which capped a couple of weeks of poor form that started with an outburst after Juventus’ win over Genoa and has continued as the Portuguese drew consecutive blanks against Parma and Fiorentina after missing the defeat away at Atalanta through injury.

Ronaldo has scored 32 times in 39 games for Juventus this season but has been unable to prevent the champions slipping out of the Scudetto reckoning and the Champions League. Juve are currently fourth in Serie A but being pushed to the wire for qualification for Europe’s elite club competition next season by Napoli. Failure to do so would be an extraordinary event for a side that has won the last nine Scudetti and who regularly feature in the latter stages of the Champions League with Inter set to end Juve’s domestic hegemony and Porto ending their European dream at the last 16 stage.

Juventus fans would prefer Ronaldo to leave

Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

Juventus fans have started to criticize Ronaldo over Juve’s struggles this season, keenly aware that give the club’s financial issues his €30m annual wage is becoming more difficult to justify. Some sections of the Juve support would now rather see Ronaldo leave sooner rather than later, which would have been unthinkable a few months ago. Many media outlets also singled Ronaldo out for the draw against 14th-placed Fiorentina, with former Italy striker Luca Toni saying on Rai Sport: “He had a very bad game; he had chances and he didn’t take them. I’d give him a four out of 10.”

However, there is a growing sense among Juve fans that Ronaldo isn’t particularly bothered about it all. The Portuguese seems to have decided already that he will leave Turin this summer for another challenge elsewhere. A return to Real Madrid would be his preferred option but his former club appear to have closed that door while PSG have not made any firm moves in his direction despite talk of a potential swap deal involving Mauro Icardi. Manchester United remain a possibility but there have been no talks yet about a return to Old Trafford.