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CR Heaven: Why Ronaldo’s Juventus switch has been the perfect fit

Dave Burin | 14 January 2019

Can he lead Juve to another Serie A title?

There’s no doubting Cristiano Ronaldo has cemented his position as one of the game’s all-time greats. But a few eyebrows were still raised when Juventus shelled out £105m for a 33-year-old.

However, the doubters have been swiftly silenced. While Juve haven’t always been performing imperiously as a team, the Portuguese ace has proved vital in virtually every result they’ve picked up this term.

We look at why it’s going so right for Ronaldo in Serie A…

The assist king

There were plenty of questions about how CR7 would manage in a league where robustly organised sides were more the norm than free-flowing attacking teams.

The question can largely be answered by Ronaldo’s assist stats. He chalked up five assists in La Liga in 2017-18, and six the previous season. He’s already managed a half-dozen in Serie A, and we’re only half way through January.

Playing primarily on the wing, he’s built a superb understanding with Mario Mandzukic. Four of the Croatian’s nine goals this term have been teed up by Ronaldo.

Key strikes at key times

Juve are nine points clear at the Serie A summit, and unbeaten so far. But it’s largely been down to their marquee summer signing.

Ronaldo’s goals have consistently got the Old Lady out of jail. A late equaliser at Atalanta on Boxing Day helped keep their unbeaten streak alive.

But it’s Empoli who were stung worst by the Juve ace. He clawed back a 1-0 half-time defecit against a spirited Azzurri side, with a brace after the break.

Oh, and there was the small matter of netting an ice-cool penalty (which he’d also won) to edge the Turin derby 1-0 in front of a hostile crowd at Stadio Grande Torino.

Age is just a number

The fact that most players a month off their 34th birthday are winding down their careers could be a concern in 99% of cases. But Ronaldo looks like he could play at the top level indefinitely.

The former Real Madrid ace has played the full 90 minutes in 21 of Juve’s 25 games this term. He’s appeared as a substitute in three more, with his only absence from the side the result of a suspension.

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