Cristiano Ronaldo was signed by Juventus in 2018 to transform them from the dominant team in Italy – they had just won their seventh successive Serie A title – to the finest in Europe, ultimately by delivering a long-elusive Champions League. Twelve months on, a further league title has followed – but the quarter-final defeat by Ajax that ended their most recent European campaign has inspired more change in Turin.
Complementing the return of Gianluigi Buffon and the signings of Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and more, Massimiliano Allegri has been replaced as manager by Maurizio Sarri, who represents the antithesis of Juve’s long-term approach of recruiting a coach whose approach is to win at all costs.
Yet it is still Ronaldo who will be expected to make the difference where it counts – as he threatened to when his hat-trick eliminated Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 last season. Now working under Sarri – arguably one of Europe’s most tactically rigid managers – potentially presents the 34-year-old with the further challenge of the need to adapt.