Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ronaldo hoping for warmer Wanda Metropolitano reception after Juventus draw Atletico Madrid

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 29 Aug 2019

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Cristiano Ronaldo is hoping for a kinder reception from the Atletico Madrid faithful after Juventus were drawn against Diego Simeone’s side in the Champions League group stage.

Juve met Atleti in the round of 16 last season with Real Madrid icon Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick in the second leg to overturn the Rojiblancos’ 2-0 lead from the first match.

Ronaldo was jeered by the Atleti support during the first leg and responded by gesturing a “five” to the home fans, demonstrating the number of Champions League trophies he has won.

The Portugal star also told reporters in the post-match mixed zone: “I won five Champions Leagues, Atletico Madrid zero. Defeat? That’s what happens in football, let’s see if Atletico will qualify.”

Ronaldo’s warning shot to Atleti ultimately proved true and now the sides will meet again in this season’s competition having been matched up in Group D alongside Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow.

However, Ronaldo is holding out for a less hostile return to the Wanda Metropolitano on his next return to Madrid.

“It’s one more game. Atletico is a great team as we all know,” Ronaldo, the all-time leading scorer in the Madrid derby, told Movistar.

“In Madrid I played many times and they were always a tough opponent. I hope they don’t crush me again at the stadium, calling me unsportsmanlike. 

“Atletico has an excellent team and an excellent coach. The other two adversaries are tough. This is the draw.”

Despite their superb comeback against Atleti, Juve were dumped out in the next round, going out to Erik ten Hag’s scintillating Ajax side.

It was a defeat that ultimately appeared to cost Massimiliano Allegri his job, with Juve also moving to sign one of Ajax’s scorers in that encounter – Netherlands star Matthijs de Ligt – in the close season.

But Ronaldo is confident the Serie A champions can go deeper into the tournament this time around.

“The favourite does not always win. Look at last year. Barcelona in Anfield, with Juve the same,” Ronaldo said.

“I hope it is this year. I am confident. I hope it is the year of Juve. All teams reinforce to win. I hope it’s Juve. We have great team and great players, a great coach.”

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