Cristiano Ronaldo has proved any doubters wrong following his move to Juventus, despite the Italian club’s failure to conquer Europe, according to Nuno Gomes.
Ronaldo opted to leave Real Madrid in 2018 after winning a fourth Champions League title in five years, exiting as the Spanish side’s all-time leading scorer to continue his career in Serie A.
While the Portuguese has collected two league titles since the sensational switch, Juve have come up short in European competition. They fell at the quarter-final stage to Ajax in 2019, while this season suffered a shock last-16 exit at the hands of Lyon.
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Missing out on reaching the revised knockout rounds in Portugal led to a swift change in coach, with Maurizio Sarri sacked as Andrea Pirlo was surprisingly given the job, but Gomes does not believe the Champions League shortcomings reflect badly on Ronaldo.
Speaking to Stats Perform News, the former Portugal international used his compatriot’s impressive numbers at Juve – he has scored 65 goals in all competitions so far – as proof he remains at his peak.
50 – Cristiano #Ronaldo is the 1st player in history to score 50+ goals in Serie A, LaLiga and Premier League. Passport.#JuventusLazio #SerieA pic.twitter.com/mBrTIL7v6K
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) July 20, 2020
Asked if he believes Ronaldo has been a success since moving to Italy, Gomes replied: “I would say yes, because they have won the title twice in Italy. However, that it is not enough for Juventus, it is not enough to win the Italian title.
“For him, personally, after a big change, some were expecting he might not do well outside of Real Madrid, but he proved in terms of his records, his statistics, he was very good in these two seasons at Juventus. He scores a lot, he plays all the games and with his age, to perform at such a top, high level, he is the best.”
Coach Pirlo and his staff at #JMedical! https://t.co/TmX6biJCUu #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/etSd0OjWhg
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 24, 2020
Following his appointment, Pirlo will be tasked with not only continuing Juve’s domestic dominance but also improving their fortunes in Europe.
The ex-Italy midfielder had only just taken charge of the Under-23 squad at the Bianconeri when he received a rapid promotion, yet Gomes is backing Pirlo to overcome his lack of experience to prosper in the role.
“All the coaches, they have to start from somewhere, no?”, Gomes – who had a spell in Italian football with Fiorentina – said. “This is a big opportunity for him, it’s a big challenge in his first time as coach.
“He will have the support of the players, of the club and of the fans, so he has everything to become a good choice from the club to be the new manager. Of course, he was an amazing player as a footballer, and I believe also he will become a very good coach.”
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Juve will hope Pirlo can follow the example set by Zinedine Zidane, who steered Real Madrid to three Champions League final triumphs in his first spell after being promoted from within.
“You can compare with Zidane, as they were playing in similar positions in the field. It’s funny, because a lot of players that become coaches, a lot of them they used to play in midfield,” Gomes continued.
“So you know Pirlo, he was the ‘maestro’ of the team when he was playing, and you could see even the way he was playing he would become a coach at the end of his career, as was Zidane. Pirlo is a much-respected name and I think the players will help him achieve what he wants.”
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