Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the Greatest of All Time in the game of Football but is his importance to this Juventus side overrated?
No matter how talented a footballer is, Football remains a team sport. A sport with a lot of professionals too.
The Bianconeri is both the best Italian team in terms of quality players and also the biggest Italian team in terms of financial muscles.
The domestic dominance of Juventus has been so deep that they are currently in the pursuit of their 10th successive Scudetto.
Like it or not, Ronaldo is nearing retirement and is certainly not at the peak of his powers anymore. That fact now brings forward the question;
“How important is Ronaldo to Juventus?”
Or better still
“How good is Ronaldo at Juventus?”
No one is questioning the Ronaldo’s quality or ability. But two factors are important when considering this:
– Ronaldo is almost 36 years old!
– Juventus have the best squad in Italy.
One would think that Italy’s biggest team would have a capable deputy or at least have a clear retirement plan for Ronaldo.
But that isn’t the case.
How Ronaldo Influences Juventus
With that noted, how does Ronaldo influence Juventus? It’s simple, it’s by his goals. They just can’t seem to dry up.
Ronaldo has already spent two seasons albeit under two different managers. Arguably from the pragmatic 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 Allegri system to the static 4-3-1-2 system of Sarri.
Now, he is being coached by his third different manager and he has had to adapt to the energetic 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 system of Pirlo’s.
In as much as he is primarily an inside forward at Juventus, he has so much impact on the team results most times. This is because he is almost always the scorer of the winning goal(98 goal involvements in his first 100 games for Juventus).
Ronaldo’s impact at Juventus can simply be felt when one looks at Juventus stats when he is playing and when he is not. In the first 91 games he played for the Bianconeri, he won 61(67%) of them. In the 18 games without him, the Bianconeri has only won 10(55%) of them.
This stat becomes mind-blowing when you consider that these games were mostly played against sides labeled as inferior sides.
This is because Ronaldo was rested in them(as he is hardly injured). The other reason is because of his earlier Covid-19 infection.
The Ronaldo-Dependency In “BIG GAMES”
Ronaldo is arguably the Best Big game performer in recent football history. Therefore, it isn’t surprising to see him thrive in bug games.
But in Juventus, the Ronaldo-dependency becomes even more obvious when Juventus face-off with the tougher opposition.
An example would be their Champions League knockout matches in the past two seasons.
The fact that Juventus have all their Champions League knockout goals scored by Ronaldo spells it out. That’s quite a dependency.
Ronaldo Maybe 36 But Is Still World Class
Ronaldo may be 36 in no distant time, may not be at the peak of his powers anymore, but is still churning out unbelievable numbers in front of goal(38 goal involvements in 39 matches since turning 35 Last February).
He also finished 2020 as the Top scorer(33goals) across Europe’s major leagues.
Ronaldo does not have a huge impact on the team’s play but he has a huge say when it comes to goals Juventus scores.
The reliance on Ronaldo isn’t healthy even though he is probably the most proficient and reliable finisher you can ask of.
Alvaro Morata’s presence certainly will ease the goalscoring burden on Ronaldo especially when they both play together.
Finally, what happens when he doesn’t play is a constant reminder that Pirlo needs to find other means of adding goals to the team.