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Landmark Juve goal brings out contrasting sides of Ronaldo

December 17, 2018
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Juventus's Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during the Italian Serie A soccer match against Torino FC at the Olimpico stadium in Turin, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 (Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP)

MILAN (AP) — Juventus reached another landmark this weekend — and it was fitting that Cristiano Ronaldo was the player to do it.

But contrasting sides of the five-time world player of the year were on show in the Turin derby.

Ronaldo converted a 69th-minute penalty in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Torino as Juventus became the first club to score 5,000 goals in Serie A.

“I’m happy, but what matters most is having helped the team to win,” Ronaldo said immediately after the match, when asked about scoring the landmark goal.

The Portuguese star also celebrated the occasion on Twitter.

“Historic win, important achievement, historic achievement... 5000 times Juve” Ronaldo wrote, along with a photo of him scoring the penalty.

Juventus remained eight points ahead of second-placed Napoli as the Bianconeri continued their seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth straight Serie A title.

It was also an important goal personally for Ronaldo.

The 33-year-old has been playing and scoring regularly this season and showing little sign of being affected — on the field at least — by a rape allegation in the United States.

However, Ronaldo had failed to score in his previous two games, the first time that had happened since September.

Ronaldo was visibly relieved when the goal went in, especially as Salvador Ichazo had got a hand to it, and he ran up and chest-bumped the Torino goalkeeper. Ronaldo, who was booked for that, appeared to immediately regret his actions and gave Ichazo an apologetic hug.

Italy forward Mario Balotelli commented on Instagram: “If I had done that.... goodbye!”

It was Ronaldo’s 11th Serie A goal, moving him second in the goalscoring charts, one behind Genoa forward Krzysztof Piatek.

Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in September in Nevada claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing.

SQUAD ROTATION

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti has used squad rotation much more than his predecessor Maurizio Sarri but it almost cost him dearly on Sunday.

Ancelotti rested top players Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Marek Hamsik and Jose Callejon against Cagliari after the midweek defeat to Liverpool saw Napoli eliminated from the Champions League.

He was forced to bring on Mertens, Callejon and Insigne during the second half and Napoli clearly improved.

Mertens won the free-kick which Arkadiusz Milik curled in during stoppage time to send Napoli to a 1-0 win.

The Belgian international also provided an earlier cross which Milik headed onto the crossbar.

“I chose a fresher starting lineup in order to rest those who had used a lot of energy in Liverpool and to have more energy during the match,” Ancelotti said.

ROMA PROTESTS

Roma fans protested this weekend after a series of poor results, including a draw with nine-man Cagliari and Champions League defeat to Viktoria Plzen.

There were banners around the city aimed at Roma’s American president, James Pallotta, with the words: “Pallotta leave.”

When the players’ and coach’s names were read out before Sunday’s match against Genoa, almost all of them were met with jeers.

The fans were also silent for the opening 10 minutes after which there were plenty of jeers and chants against Pallotta.

Roma, which had failed to win its last five matches, twice came from behind to beat Genoa 3-2 and take some of the pressure off coach Eusebio Di Francesco.

EVERGREEN QUAGLIARELLA

At the age of 35, Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella is going from strength to strength.

Quagliarella netted in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Parma — the first time in his career he has scored in six consecutive Serie A games in the same season.

“Quagliarella should be protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site,” Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo joked. “He is immortal. There really are no adjectives for him.”

The Sampdoria captain has scored nine goals this season, leading to calls for him to be recalled to the Italy squad.

Quagliarella, who also lists Napoli, Juventus and Torino among his former clubs, last played for Italy in 2010. He scored seven goals in 25 matches for the Azzurri.

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