Gianluigi Buffon has become the latest player to criticise Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at Juventus.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner moved to the Turin side in 2018 for a club-record €100 million fee. His signing was greeted with much enthusiasm and fanfare, even leading to marked improvements for the club’s social and financial stock.
His impact was so big that it also led to marked improvements for the Serie A in general who saw much more attention paid to the league due to the superstar’s arrival.
Ronaldo was signed by Juventus for his UEFA Champions League pedigree, with hopes that he could lead The Old Lady to the title that has evaded them since 1996. In the three seasons he spent at the club, however, they failed to make it past the quarter-finals despite having reached two finals in the four seasons that preceded his arrival.
Ronaldo’s arrival, however, wasn’t met with total support by some figures at the club. Reports from April claim that manager Massimiliano Allegri, who coached Juventus in the season Ronaldo arrived before being sacked, was sacked because he asked the Juventus hierarchy to sell Ronaldo.
Former Juventus Chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli was never in support of the signing from the onset, claiming that it was a ‘huge mistake’ and that Juventus would never be able to fully ‘recoup the investment’.
Following the Portuguese’s departure in the summer to Manchester United, Juventus veterans Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci came out at different times to also claim that Ronaldo made Juventus lose their identity.
“Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us,” Bonucci said in September. “Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.
“We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your teammate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that.”
Chiellini said of Ronaldo’s time at Juventus: “We had arrived at a point in our relationship where Cristiano needed new goals and a team that would play for him, because when he finds a team like that he is decisive,” he said.
“Ronaldo left on August 28, it would have been better for us if he had left earlier. We paid something for it, a little bit of a shock, we paid something for it in terms of points. If he had left earlier we would have had time to prepare better.”
Juventus lost their DNA because of Ronaldo, claims Buffon
Buffon, whose biggest goal is to win the Champions League before he retires, left the Allianz Stadium for Paris Saint-Germain in 2018. Following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, the then 41-year-old returned after just one season at Parc De Princes to play alongside Mr Champions League and achieve his dream of winning the title.
Buffon, now winding up his illustrious career at Parma in the Italian Serie B, has now admitted that the Ronaldo-Juventus partnership wasn’t the best because it harmed the rest of the squad.
“Juventus had the chance to win the Champions League the first year he arrived, which was the year I was at Paris Saint-Germain, and I couldn’t figure out what happened,” he told TUDN.
“When I returned, I worked with CR7 for two years and we did well together, but I think Juventus lost that DNA of being a team.
“We reached the Champions League final in 2017 because we were a side full of experience, but above all we were a single unit and there was this competition for places within the group that was very strong. We lost that with Ronaldo.”
Juventus chairman Andrea Angelli is the only key figure at the club who has defended Ronaldo’s signing for Juventus so far, even claiming that he would do it again if given the opportunity.
Speaking back in April in the heat of the European Super League drama, Agnelli said: “Wrong to take Ronaldo? Never,” he said.
“I would do it again tomorrow. And Pirlo too. Stability allows us to follow the path of growth by investing in young players and coaches even at their first experience.
“We brought Cristiano to Italy and his presence alone has guaranteed the other clubs €4 million at the box office.
“We wish to continue importing other champions with the benefits for all levels of football, from the youngsters to the amateurs.”
Ronaldo is Juventus top scorer in 2021
The Portuguese superstar may not like what the veterans have said but he can smile about his achievements at Juventus regardless. His smile will even be wider following the end of the year stats released.
Juventus have struggled since Ronaldo’s departure and currently sit fifth in Serie A, 12 points behind leaders Inter Milan. This is because they have been very poor in front of goal, with only 27 goals scored so far in 19 games – the least among the current top 10.
Juventus’ attack is currently so well below average, that despite Ronaldo leaving Juventus during the summer, he will finish 2021 as the Italian giants’ top scorer in the calendar year.
Ronaldo scored 20 times for Juve during the year with his last goal for the club coming all the way back in May. No one in Juventus has been able to match that feat, with the second on the table, Alvaro Morata, falling short by three goals and ending the year with 17.
Ronaldo scored 101 goals for the Turin club in 134 games before moving on to Manchester United where his goalscoring form has continued. At Old Trafford, Ronaldo has netted 13 times in 18 games for the Red Devils and is currently the club’s top goalscorer for the 2021/22 season.