There is a thin line between love and hate, and in Cristiano Ronaldo’s case with the Old Lady, that line was two black strips on his glorious white shirt.
Everybody remembers that scene, that beautiful moment in the Allianz Stadium where Real Madrid’s legendary number 7 was in awe of the standing ovation he received from Juventus fans applauding him for his ridiculous bicycle kick.
However, that act does not signify anything from the story; in fact, it represents the exact opposite. If there is one thing Juventini have felt towards Cristiano, it has been absolute hatred for the man that shattered their dreams, and we can guarantee you the feeling was mutual, as the Bianconeri were the only side to defeat CR7’s Real Madrid in a Champions League knockout tie in the past five years.
It all started five years ago at the group stage of the Champions League, when the Dark Invader destroyed the bulletproof Italian defense in less than four minutes of play, and then managed to fire a second from the penalty spot to grant his side victory at the Santiago Bernabéu.
The bitter loss pushed Juve’s fans in the stands to call the megastar ‘Cristina’ (according to beIN Sports’ Hussien Yassin who was in the stadium that night), daring him to prove his worth on Italian soil. Two weeks later, the two European giants faced off again, and as usual, Cristiano did not fail to deliver, scoring once and assisting another in the 2-2 draw.
Fast forward two years later, with Ronaldo barely being able to contain his tears at Gianluigi Buffon’s bar, after crossing the ball instead of bagging it, and the prodigal son Álvaro Morata punished Los Blancos with a goal in each leg, awarding coach Massimilano Allegri a Champions League final on his first year in charge, while depriving the reigning champions of another shot at the title.
The machine took his revenge, and he took it in his own bloody way, triumphing with all three Champions League titles since then, knocking out the Old Lady twice, forcing them to suffer a seventh loss in the final, more final losses than any team in history, and scoring 10 goals past Buffon, choosing the Italian legend as his favorite prey.
No words could be able to fully describe the amount of pain and resentment Juventus supporters once held against the world’s best goal scorer, and quoting one of their biggest fans Rav Dhillon, famously known as Juvefc.com on Twitter: “NOW and FOREVER, I will hate you Cristiano Ronaldo, you miserable diving little bastard.”
The tables have since turned, as the most despicable villain became the most loved hero in the city of Turin. From now on, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will never stab the Old Lady from the back, he will only thrash her opponents to defend her honor.
“It shocked me!” said Arjun Pradeep, a Juventus fan from India, when asked by Breaking The Lines. “Not numerically because it was normal, Juventus could afford him. I would also say that it is a transfer one normally expects Juventus to do, if you consider the history of the club and the number of times they have broken transfer records. Established Champions have historically ended up at Juventus during the peak of their career.”
“But it still shocked me! A crazy dream has just came true,” added Pradeep.
Upon his arrival, Ronaldo declared that ‘it was an easy decision to join Juventus.’ People may believe there is some exaggeration in his statement, yet knowing Ronaldo, it is unquestionably true.
The 33-year-old Portuguese forward is solely obsessed with having his name in the history books as the best player that ever was, and with numerous people stating this is Messi’s yard, Ronaldo seems to chase after facts more than opinions.
With him, Manchester United were the last English side to win the Premier League title in successive years, and at 23, he granted them their only Champions League title of the 21st century, and in Spain, he guided Los Merengues to four triumphs in Europe’s ultimate competition.
It would be the icing on the cake to close the last chapter of his career in style, and award the Italian giants with the trophy they have been missing for the last 22 years.
Science proves that the earth revolves around the sun, yet for Ronaldo, it spins around him. You can see it in the way he celebrates his goals and in how he handles each press conference.
“Ancelotti wrote in his book that Del Piero’s selfishness & greed reinforced his standing as a phenomenal player,” recalled Pradeep. “As it turns out, Cristiano idolized Del Piero a lot. So, I’m not bothered by Cristiano’s greed. If he still has the desire to be number 1 at 33 years of age, it can only mean good things. Besides, the two times that Juve ended up as European Cup winners, they needed the greed of Platini and Del Piero. I categorize Cristiano in the same category when it comes to being the main man.”
“Some people interpret ambition for arrogance,” said Trinbagonian journalist Terrence Clarke when asked by BTL. “However, if he is selfish in that regard, it only works to Juve’s benefit. It bodes well for Juve if he’s focused on proving he can win the Champions League at a third club.”
Cristiano is not the first ageing player who has sought to prove himself with the Bianconeri; a couple of years earlier Andrea Pirlo did the same thing, and boy did he enjoy every second of it, winning four Serie A titles and reaching the Champions League final.
Nevertheless, this challenge is different. It is not about being among the finest, it is about standing tall, unsurpassed, as the absolute best. It is the dare that both Ronaldo and Juventus chose to take, and we are one month away from learning how they will start it.
By: Ramez Nathan