It’s been quite the summer for Juventus, who are looking in incredible shape for the new Serie A season, with Cristiano Ronaldo now on the club’s books.
Juventus have been Serie A’s most impressive side for some time now, winning a seventh consecutive title last season. Whilst their domestic success can’t be doubted, the hope is that by adding Ronaldo to an already impressive pool of players, they can challenge for the Champions League.
We’ve seen Juventus reach European Cup finals in recent seasons, but they’ve come unstuck against Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have dominated the competition for so long. The latter beat them in the 2017 final in Wales, with Ronaldo turning in a man of the match performance and scoring two goals for Los Blancos.
Now, with Ronaldo on board, Juventus will be hoping that their fortunes will change on club football’s biggest stage. The Portuguese forward is now 33, but during the World Cup in Russia, he proved that age was just a number, putting in some impressive performances for Portugal.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) August 13, 2018
The ex-Manchester United favourite has never been one to shy away from a challenge, whether that’s on the International stage, or in club football, as we’ve seen with his move to Italy. Ronaldo could have continued to battle Lionel Messi in La Liga, but instead, he is determined to prove himself in yet another country, with his sights surely on winning a European Cup with a third different club.
In Paulo Dybala, Ronaldo has a 24-year-old alongside him who can shine in attack, whilst Douglas Costa’s electric pace will add another dimension to Juventus’ attack. In defence, Giorgio Chiellini has been rejoined by Leonardo Bonucci, with the famous Italian duo now back together at club level after the latter’s stint with AC Milan.
It’s the goalkeeping department where there is genuine worry for Juventus, with it looking likely that Wojciech Szczesny will be the man to replace Gianluigi Buffon, who ended his long association with the club at the end of last season. Across Europe, there have been plenty of other goalkeepers on the move, with Thibaut Courtois heading to Real Madrid from Chelsea in a deal worth a reported £35m. That has significantly weakened the Blues in the Premier League, with 18/1 amongst the shortest odds on Chelsea to win league 2019.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 8, 2018
But for Real Madrid, who have so often been Juventus’ Achilles heel in Europe, they are stronger for the new season. It begs the question why Juventus didn’t take a look at Courtois, particularly with a player like Buffon departing. Of course, the Belgian goalkeeper seemed determined to join Real, but there is an exciting project going on in Turin.
With Ronaldo arriving and Bonucci returning, expectation levels are rising, but there are still areas of Juventus’ squad that look short, with goalkeeper being one of those. Had Buffon been adequately replaced with someone other than his understudy, Barcelona and Real Madrid might be sitting up and taking more notice of Juventus.
Despite that, Juve can still expect a successful season. It’s hard to see past them for the Serie A title, whilst the likes of Ronaldo, Bonucci, Chiellini and Dybala should take them to the latter stage of the Champions League. However, to go that next step and claim a third European crown, they could well need their new Portuguese No.7 to do something special.