This weekend saw Cristiano Ronaldo leave Juventus to return to his old club, Manchester United. A day later, and the northern club lose to Empoli. What is going on in Turin?
Saturday saw Juventus turn out for a match without striker, Cristiano Ronaldo. If anyone thought for a moment Ronaldo going would be good for the club, they were in for a shock.
Fans and Massimo Allegri must be wondering what went wrong. Juventus lost 0-1 to newly-promoted Serie B champions Empoli, at home in Turin. Juve had more of the ball, more shots and yet failed to capitalise.
Defensive errors or not?
The defence, with old stalwarts of Bonucci and Chiellini, limited Empoli’s attack to only three shots in the entire game – not a bad stat. However, they could have done more to prevent the goal.
The question has to be why Allegri decided playing Cuadrado at right back was a good idea. Cuadrado is not a natural defender and playing in the back line means there’s a gap when he plays forward. And that is what happened as he got caught too high up the field.
Still, five Juve players against three from Empoli should have prevented the goal which had a lucky deflection to help the ball on its way to the back of the net.
Who is going to attack?
Dybala, Morata and Chiesa were up front for Juve. But it was singularly Chiesa who seemed to be making any inroads.
He played 66 minutes and in that time had three shots on goal compared to zero from Dybala and Morata. Why Allegri replaced him is baffling.
The transfer window is almost shut, so what are Juventus going to do? Morata occasionally shines, but he does seem to be an inconsistent player who could be playing for a team much lower in the Serie alphabet. Dybala is not a natural number 9. Allegri had better make a decision fast.
Annoyed home fans, who expect better displays from their team, whistled Juve off the pitch.
Ronaldo returns to Manchester
Allegri seemed unperturbed when Ronaldo said he wanted to leave. Whether he’s still feeling that way is another matter. Manchester United, meanwhile, are happy to have 36-year-old Ronaldo back in the fold.
The official Man Utd statement on Friday, said: “Manchester United is delighted to confirm that the club has reached agreement with Juventus for the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo, subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical.
Cristiano, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, has so far won over 30 major trophies during his career, including five UEFA Champions League titles, four FIFA Club World Cups, seven league titles in England, Spain and Italy, and the European Championship for his native Portugal.
In his first spell for Manchester United, he scored 118 goals in 292 games.
Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester.”