Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Juventus players were not ready for Ronaldo arrival – Buffon

SoccerNews in Serie A 31 Dec 2021


Gianluigi Buffon believes some Juventus players were not ready for the increased demands that came with Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival.

Ronaldo brought an end to a three-season stay in Turin when he returned to Manchester United early in 2021-22.

He scored 101 goals across 134 matches in all competitions for the Bianconeri.

During Ronaldo’s stint, Juve won the Scudetto in his first two seasons but missed out to Inter in 2020-21, despite the 36-year-old’s league-high 29 goals.

That made Ronaldo, who is also the all-time leading scorer in men’s international football, the first player to finish top of the scoring charters in Serie A, LaLiga and the Premier League.

Buffon previously suggested Ronaldo somewhat hampered his former side, but the Parma goalkeeper has retracted that opinion as he questioned whether some Juve players were ready for Ronaldo’s arrival.

“I said that a certain DNA had been lost with him because I think so, and on deeper reflection, I can say that clearly it’s not Cristiano’s fault,” Buffon told Italian outlet Corriere della Sera.

“He is a top player and when you sign a player of that calibre you know what you’re getting into.

“You have to understand if the others are prepared and in my opinion, many players weren’t ready to share a certain type of experience. Whether you like it or not, this should never happen, especially in a club like Juve.

“When he arrived in Turin, I went to Paris. And when I came back I saw something different, that didn’t remind me of what I had left behind.”

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has managed 14 goals for United on his return in all competitions this season. Indeed, after scoring one and assisting another against Burnley on Thursday, the Portugal international has now reached double figures for goal involvements in his last 17 league seasons.

Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala have faced the thankless task of replacing the evergreen Ronaldo at Juve, but Buffon believes the latter’s progress has been stunted due to ongoing injury issues.

“He is definitely a technical leader because he is Juve’s best player and then in recent years he has matured a lot,” Buffon said of Dybala.

“To be able to play this role, however, you have to be there and in the last two years he has been absent a lot because of injuries. The moment he finds consistency, he will be consecrated as a leader of Juve.”



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