Ronaldo’s debut in Turin sets stage for more goals
MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo often scores goals. In Turin, Cristiano Ronaldo always scores goals.
The Juventus forward, who will be making his home debut for his new club on Saturday, is still looking to score his debut goal for the Italian champions. And as luck would have it, the team is finally ready for its home opener.
Ronaldo has played in Turin three times, and he has scored in every match.
He scored for Real Madrid at Juventus in the group stage of the 2013-14 Champions League, as well as in the semifinals the following year. He also scored twice in the 2018 quarterfinals, including a spectacular overhead kick which earned him a standing ovation from the Italian team’s fans and supposedly played a part in his decision to join the Bianconeri.
“The small details make the big difference at the end of the day so I would say what I saw in the stadium helped, to be honest,” Ronaldo said recently. ”(It) was in my opinion the best goal in my career so far. And, of course, when the people start to applaud me in the stadium I was like, ‘Wow.’ (It) surprised me a lot because this has never happened in my life, so was unbelievable moment.”
Ronaldo made his Juventus debut last weekend in a 3-2 victory at Chievo Verona, but he didn’t score.
Still, there were positive signs in Verona when Ronaldo appeared to link up well with his new teammates, especially attacking full back Alex Sandro. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner also had eight shots on goal — twice as many as any other player.
“I feel really good alongside him,” Sandro said. “He is a really great footballer. I understand him, he understands me. We did a good job. We need to continue like this.”
However, it will take even Ronaldo some time to settle into his new team after nine years in Madrid. At times in Verona, he made a clever run only for the pass to arrive too late or not at all.
“Cristiano is a great player and has added notable quality to the team,” Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny said. “Unfortunately he didn’t score on his debut at Chievo, but he will score his first goal in a match very soon, I’m sure of that.”
Whether that comes against Lazio remains to be seen. Lazio beat the Bianconeri in the Italian Super Cup and also was one of only two Serie A teams to win at the Allianz Stadium last season.
Lazio will be looking to repeat that victory, especially after the disappointment of losing its opener against Napoli.
Italy has not had a player of such global interest since a player of the same name — former Brazil great Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo ‘The Phenomenon’ was devastating at Inter. He drove everyone crazy and scored goals every Sunday,” former Italy forward Christian Vieri said. “The Portuguese Ronaldo is the same. He’s scored more than 600 goals, scores 50 goals a year, overhead kicks, left foot, right foot. He’s a goal machine.”