THE CRISTIANO RONALDO DILEMMA

"Time to move on" - Alberto

Make it make sense...In the aftermath of Juve's crushing defeat to Porto in the Round of 16 Champions League tie, the news has been all around Cristiano Ronaldo's future. The Portuguese star was heavily criticized for not making a big enough impact for the Bianconeri over the two legs and then he as well as all the team leaders were criticized some more for not stepping up to the cameras and facing the music. Cristiano responded and did his talking on the pitch against Cagliari, scoring a hat trick and guiding Juventus to the 3-1 victory and surpassing the great Pelé. While victories and records are to be celebrated and joyous, I couldn't help but feel a bit numb to it all. To be honest I felt annoyed.


Ronaldo's attitude has been upsetting for me for over a month. The intense levels of frustration shown and sulking have been a bit much for my liking especially when you combine some lackluster showings on his part, especially the two legs against Porto. Forgive me if a hat trick against Cagliari doesn't wipe my memory clean of these frustrations I've had but we brought him in for far more. Another aspect that added to my annoyance was the fact "he" was publicly criticized and responded and felt the need to do a celebration pointing to his ear after one of his goals against Cagliari. Where was this fight, hunger, and drive when Juve's European life was on the line? The honeymoon phase may be over at Juventus I'm afraid.


While Ronaldo isn't the issue and I truly do believe Juve's management has made a mess of the CR7 window in terms of building a strong squad behind him, he does need to be "the guy" for us and when I look at leaders the attitude and body language needs to propel the team forward and I've been seeing several others who have been providing that in a far more positive manner. When I start to feel this way I can't help but wonder if we would be better off using that healthy salary of his to boosting the squad and helping the collective. It is a bit of a tough situation for Juventus. Having Mirko Di Natale on the podcast and him stating Juve wanted to extend the contract before the second leg match against Porto was a bit of surprise I must say. We have a great goal scorer but not enough support for him and keeping him around hinders the amount of money we have to be able to support him. I have been saying for quite some time now, Cristiano Ronaldo is a luxury player and one that Juve may not be able to afford.


Again, he is not the direct issue but he does hinder us in being able to correct the issues, that and some very bad contracts and transfers previously in which we are still seeing the effects from and throw the completely unforeseen COVID effects into the mix and you have a win now made that has passed almost completely. This was highlighted by a third consecutive elimination in the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Extending Ronaldo and Juve wanting to do so is very strange for me to try and figure out where they really stand and what they are trying to accomplish really. We bring in a goal-scoring machine, we find out the supporting cast isn't enough but we wait to truly act on it and keep the "dead weight" around an entire extra season before acting on it. To add to the confusion we make another coaching change and now bring in a coach who wasn't even ticketed at the time of receiving the job. Then we bring in a wave of new young players and continue to look at younger players as part of this new project.


I just need things to start making sense. Are we in winnow mode? For me we are not and simply can't be if we are starting to focus on a green manager and young players and forming a new spine in the team. If we aren't in winnow mode and we are looking at reshaping the spine, how does CR fit? Does it make sense to keep him around? For me, it doesn't and not only for Juve but Cristiano as well. He is 36 years old and it would make sense for him to be that piece for a team that is close to winning in Europe to give him a couple more opportunities before maybe a move to MLS or wrapping up his career entirely. Juve seems to be fading further away from being that tough out in Europe and needs to restore balance in the squad, all these factors make me believe it would be best for both parties to part ways this summer. I can't stress enough that my opinion is not a knock on Ronaldo, his stats speak for themselves but I just don't believe Juve has held their end of the agreement and unless he restructures his contract I don't see them being able to. Ronaldo will be the luxury player we couldn't and still can't afford to have. The strength amongst the ranks isn't where it needed to be and now we are all left trying to make sense of where Juventus is at...is it win now?.... Is it a rebuild?...make it make sense.


"It was a failure" - SAEED OUT

In my eyes, Ronaldo has been a failure in Juventus. Since we have added Ronaldo to the team we have become worse. Before signing Ronaldo we had scored 77 and 86 goals in Serie A, we added him to that team and it became 70 goals. Many fans claim it's because the team got worse, but the team didn't change that much. Cancelo and Bonucci's addition was the only real difference from the last seasons.


We blamed it on Allegri, changed Allegri for a more attacking coach in Sarri but that didn't help either, we scored 76 goals (10+pens) and again we didn't match our pre-Ronaldo record in scoring terms.


In terms of winning character, we are even worse. Before Ronaldo, we won nothing in Europe but we never went out against weaker teams. We reached 2 finals and in the other years we lost vs Pep's Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, and also they were not embarrassing, we lost both games in the last minutes in Madrid and Munich.


Now we have 10 worker bees and 1 queen bee, our players work for Ronaldo, if it was 5 years ago it would make sense as he was a one-man army...

"Get him some help" - Yusuf

With the recent spin that Juventus is in, most of the blame has been to Ronaldo which in my opinion is not fair.

He has carried Juventus this season scoring 23 goals and 30 from all competitions. Has he been the problem, well it seems Juventus relies on him too much in games and he is the main in attack, but to put blame on him when everything goes sour is a little unjust? With Ronaldo in the lineup, Juve sometimes has that feeling of let's give the ball to Ronaldo and he will save us from disaster. If Juventus wants to keep Ronaldo for next season, which all reports indicate will happen, they have to have a better supporting cast around him.


As good as Ronaldo has been for Juventus, that midfield has to be seen up. They have a good foundation with promising youngsters Arthur, Kulusevski, and McKennie If they can build with those three youngsters and make signings in the summer with the likes of Locatelli and other youngsters and blend it with a few veterans Juventus will be set for another Serie A title.

"Keep and build around him" - Jonathan

What was a small murmur last season has turned into a dividing point amongst all Juventini, should he stay or should he go? I’d say Ronaldo has more than deserved his stay at Juventus. Ronaldo has one more year left on his contract, I believe it is worth another shot to ACTUALLY build the future squad around him. People have to remember how difficult it is to score 20 plus goals in Serie A, he has overcome this and even has improved his goal tally with each passing season, even as the players around him play increasingly worse. We also have to remember this is Serie A, one of the most difficult leagues in the world to score in. Ronaldo has also scored for Juve in moments when no one else would show up including in the Champions League and Derbies. Every club that Ronaldo has played for has seen their performances decline following his departure. Man Utd used to contend for the Champions League and PL every year Ronaldo was present, Real Madrid lost their biggest goalscorer in their history and now rely on their defense to win them games. 21, 31, and 23 goals for Ronaldo in Serie A respectively season by season speak for itself in my humble opinion.

Yes, there is the elephant in the room, his salary, and transfer value. I’d say despite this, he is still worth it. In fact, I think we are getting incredible value from him despite being 36 years old. There are maybe 4-5 players at his level in world football at the moment. Let’s be honest, we can’t afford Messi, Mbappe, Neymar, or Haaland outright if we were to sell Ronaldo. This being because we all know that there are also other voids in the team to fill. Talking pure transfer value, is there really more to gain by selling him? What would be his true market value and does it balance out the marketing revenue you get by having him as the face of the franchise? No this is not prime Ronaldo, but we should not take for granted Ronaldo’s goal contributions and what is placed around him. There are few if any players that Juve can get on this team that can provide what he can. Even if we tried, financially this does not make any sense either. The on the field product and business aspect merit Ronaldo’s continuation. Let’s build around him rather than constantly looking for free agents who want to cost us zero in transfer fees but a lot in terms of their performances on the pitch.

"Out but maybe in" - Julian

First things first, I’d like to make a couple of things clear. I obviously know Ronaldo is the second-best player to ever kick a football. I appreciate everything he has done for Juventus and I know he’s had good individual seasons. I will repeat, he has had good ‘individual seasons’.


Ronaldo in:

If Juventus management can pull off the greatest summer window of all time - selling the likes of Ramsey, Rabiot, Bernardeschi, De Sciglio, Rugani, and Douglas Costa and spend some money on quality players like 2 of Auoar, Pogba, Locatelli, or Van de Beek, one of Gosens or Angeliño and can keep De Ligt and Dybala, I would love for the Portuguese Superstar to stay. With a better team balance and just more quality and creativity, Ronaldo becomes better.


Ronaldo Out:

His contract stinks and coupled with Covid losses, it may hinder any summer transfer business. Without squad help, Ronaldo will be wasted for another year and Juventus will waste another year themselves. Get him help or get him out. His decline is happening and the team’s overall production is decreasing.


Stats From This Season:

15 of his 23 league goals are against the bottom half of the table clubs (Crotone, Cagliari, Spezia, Udinese, Genoa), 4 of his 23 League goals are against 7-10 placed teams (Sassuolo, Hellas Verona, Sampdoria).. that leaves 4 goals of his 23 against the top 6. 62 million euros a year. I don’t think Agnelli wanted to pay the Portuguese star to only ‘Siuuuu’ against the lower teams.


18!! Big chances missed this season already just in Serie A. 62 million Euros a year. He leads the league. Everyone blames the midfield and other attackers, and they are right to do so but let’s put some blame on Ronaldo as well.

"It's for the best to move on" - Justin Soforo

The Ronaldo situation is one I remain conflicted on, as it is a fortuitous enigma very few other clubs experience. First off, here is some insight into my background that frames my mindset on this matter. I was born and grew up in the 1990s in the United States of America in the little city of Louisville, Kentucky that, should you have heard of it, more than likely brings two topics to mind: The Kentucky Derby and college basketball. Kentuckians are fueled by their passion for the sport of basketball and no other figure is more synonymous with the sport than the Greatest Of All Time that played during that era: Michael Jordan. *Don’t even try to come to me with the slander of another athlete as being the basketball GOAT (especially not the one from Akron, Ohio) or I will turn these Twitter fingers into trigger fingers faster than a Messi fan spotting the number 7 shirt on an Instagram post.


The most well-known number 23 in the sport was able to single-handedly will his team to victory. The Flu Game, dropping a current record 63 points against the Celtics in a playoff game, and winning six NBA Championships from 1991-1998, just to name a few. For a period, Cristiano Ronaldo was able to do the same even for Juventus and willed the club to a ninth consecutive scudetto during a 2019/20 season that saw the team floundering down the stretch. That being said, the sport of European football requires a bit more nuance than basketball. Mainly because you can add an all-star player to almost any roster and that player can take over and score more easily at-will, while football necessitates more deliberate skill to manipulate a football with one’s feet, head, chest, or other legal bodily parts. As such demands, an all-star type footballer is surrounded by more skilled teammates to succeed at anywhere close to the highest level.


Ronaldo has scored seventy-five Serie A goals and fourteen Champions League goals since joining the Bianconeri in 2018, which is nothing to sneeze at given the status of the Juventus midfield in recent seasons. Since the early 2010’s the likes of Paul Pogba, Claudio Marchisio, and Andrea Pirlo in the midfield have been replaced with Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey, and Rodrigo Bentancur. It is fair to say that the midfield is the key to the club's recent failures and the disappointing play and limited production of the Portuguese player even recently. But as the self-proclaimed ‘Keeper of the Player Ratings’, I have noticed on more than a few occasions where Ronaldo flat out fails to put in the effort expected of one of his pay grade and known ability. I have observed frustration and pouting hinder Ronaldo’s own mentality in play in multiple matches where the football GOAT struggled. The issues I have when you are a Michael Jordan, Cristiano Ronaldo, or similar great player (with the pay to match) it is expected that you are able to go and get yours regardless of the production of your teammates. Something Ronaldo seems to do less and less with each passing game. But don’t tell his fanboys that.


Okay, let's talk about the mob of Ronaldo fanboys. Some of you may be reading this right now, which will definitely generalize what I believe is a very vocal few for the majority. So I will say that many of you are lovely individuals and have embraced Juventus as your new team as the new Bianconeri. But this is for the rest of you. There seems to be a horde of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fanboys or bots on every social media platform ready to raise their pitchforks and sling the most childish and lowest common denominator of insults at anyone that cheers for the other proclaimed ‘GOAT’ player. Not only do they do this, but they flood every post or comment, or tweet on any with their propaganda that makes civil conversation of sport impossible. And don’t even think about writing that their player might not be completely infallible or that he actually played poorly or they will barrage the main account with ‘Karen let me see your manager’ complaints. In short, they are cancer to the sport. And for this, should Ronaldo leave I will breathe a sigh of relief that I no longer have to suffer their existence on every piece of Juventus content I see.


Lately, rumors have swirled that Ronaldo desires to bail on the Italian project and return to his roots at Real Madrid. Others claim that Ronaldo demands a suitable midfielder purchase combining with a partner striker of an equivalent level and he will remain in Turin. Who’s to say where the truth lies. If he truly wants out, let him have his way. If Ronaldo wishes to continue his arrangement with the club and management can work together with the player to have a coordinated plan of action to restore the club to the top of Serie A and Champions League; keep him. Regardless of his age, the Portuguese star is a specimen of an athlete and shows no sign of slowing down in that regard. Similar to his basketball counterpart Jordan, his brand is a huge boost to the club that money cannot simply purchase elsewhere.


What remains to be seen is if the club will be able to financially invest in the proper midfield players to bring back the success of the Juventus clubs Ronaldo played against in Championship League finals and quarter-finals and then take them to the next level. If the possible multiple additions of a Locatelli, Pogba, Aouar, Kean, etc are not possible this Mercato, cut ties and start with the youth. The Old Lady is already in one rebuild and the clock will eventually reach its final ticks on Ronaldo’s career. Remember: it’s Forza Juve not Forza Ronaldo, Forza Dybala, or even Forza Buffon. Fino Alla Fine!


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