After much speculation about Cristiano Ronaldo’s future this summer, the global soccer star started his fourth Serie A season with Juventus on Sunday, when the team opened its season with a 2-2 draw at Udinese.
The 36-year-old Ronaldo is the reigning Serie A top scorer (29 goals last season) and although the European transfer window has not closed, he’ll be staying in Turin. With just one year left on his contract, it’s likely to be his final season in Italy.
“Ronaldo told me that he is staying at Juventus,” Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri said in the pregame press conference ahead of the Udinese match. “Ronaldo is an added bonus for us, because he guarantees a high number of goals. He has always trained well, I just read the gossip in the papers. He never told us he wanted to leave.”
There’s still much to accomplish for Ronaldo at Juventus. In addition to defending his Serie A scoring crown and winning his third Italian league title, Ronaldo will be hoping to lead Juventus to the elusive trophy the team acquired him to help capture: the UEFA Champions League. Juve hasn’t won the top European club crown since 1996.
Did Ronaldo play for Juventus vs. Udinese?
The Juventus season kicked off Sunday with its Serie A opener against Udinese. Ronaldo started on the bench with Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala getting the nod up top.
Ronaldo eventually came on to play the final 30 minutes in place of Morata. And he looked to have scored the winning goal in stoppage time, only for the VAR to scratch the header for an alleged offside.
As far as the benching, Juventus vice presidentthat it “was a mutual decision with the player. We are at the start of the season and you can’t expect to be in top form. It’s a decision for the good of the team. Even Chiellini, a Euro champion, starts on the bench today. Will Ronaldo stay at Juventus? Yes, absolutely.”
The benching came on the heels of Ronaldo missing a midweek tuneup match against Juve’s Under-23 team. But the club made it known that he sat out that game to do individual training.
“Ronaldo didn’t play on Thursday because we were coming off a heavy training workload and I gave him half a day off,” Allegri said about Ronaldo’s absence in midweek, confirming he was available for selection against Udinese.
The Juventus schedule through the end of September follows below:
|Date||Competition||Match||Time (ET)||TV channels||Stream|
|Sun, Aug. 22||Serie A – Matchday 1||Udinese 2, Juventus 2|
|Sat, Aug. 28||Serie A – Matchday 2||Juventus vs. Empoli||2:45 p.m.||Paramount+|
|Sat, Sept. 11||Serie A – Matchday 3||Napoli vs. Juventus||TBD||Paramount+|
|Tue/Wed, Sept. 14/15||Champions League – Matchday 1||TBD||TBD||Paramount+|
|Sat, Sept. 18||Serie A – Matchday 4||Juventus vs. AC Milan||TBD||Paramount+|
|Tue, Sept. 21||Serie A – Matchday 5||Spezia vs. Juventus||TBD||Paramount+|
|Sat, Sept. 25||Serie A – Matchday 6||Juventus vs. Sampdoria||TBD||Paramount+|
|Tue/Wed, Sept. 28/29||Champions League – Matchday 2||TBD||TBD||Paramount+|
Serie A top scorer favorites
Major sportsbooks in the USA list Cristiano Ronaldo as the favorite to retain the title of Serie A top scorer. His main preseason challengers are Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
Ronaldo has not scored fewer than 21 goals in his three previous seasons in Italy’s Serie A, netting a total of 81 league goals during that span and 133 across all competitions for the Bianconeri.
|Tammy Abraham||AS Roma||+1400||+2000||+1400|
|Lautaro Martinez||Inter Milan||+1400||+700||+700|
|Edin Dzeko||Inter Milan||+1800||+1800||+1800|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic||AC Milan||+2000||+2000||+2000|
|Olivier Giroud||AC Milan||+2000||+1500||+1400|
|Ante Rebic||AC Milan||+6500||+2500||+2500|
|Henrikh Mkhitaryan||AS Roma||+10000||N/A||N/A|
|Rafael Leao||AC Milan||+10000||+10000||+10000|
|Lorenzo Pellegrini||AS Roma||+20000||N/A||N/A|
|Nicolo Zaniolo||AS Roma||+20000||+6600||+6600|