Juventus look to dominate once more

With Italian giants Juventus having won the last seven editions of Serie A, the question was always going to be whether they can go on to extend that run to eight titles by the end of this upcoming season.
A question that may well already have been answered after their signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for approximately £100m. Some may question the value of spending so much money on a 33-year-old but at the same time this is no ordinary footballer of that particular age.
For Real Madrid to get more money on the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo for what they paid Manchester United back in 2008 just goes to show not only how much of a success he was at the Santiago Bernabeu but also what else he still has to offer.
The Portuguese icon earned four Champions League titles in his time at the Spanish capital, winning the last three in succession while also winning them all in just a five-year spell. It is fair to say that his contribution has been priceless.
But as in life all good things come to an end and whether it was due to sporting reasons or something a little more behind the scenes, the former Sporting Lisbon winger decided to call time on his incredibly successful stint at Real Madrid.
However, Real’s loss (albeit not a financial one) is most definitely Juventus’ gain. The Old Lady of Turin is definitely singing once more as they look to strengthen their vice like grip on Italian football, not only that but could Cristiano Ronaldo’s European pedigree rub off on his new teammates?
For all their dominance at home, Juventus have just fallen short when it really matters. In both 2015 and 2017 they fell at the final Champions League hurdle as defeats to Spanish opposition in the shape of Barcelona and Real Madrid saw them suffer continental heartbreak.
There is one school of thought that Juventus just lacked that quality to bridge the gap between domestic dominance and being kings of continent, something that should been able to easily address with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.
For a player of his age the usual career trajectory sees them go out to pastures such as China or the United States, as they for all intents and purposes enter the section of their career which resembles nothing more than semi-retirement.
That easing of the matchday pace against lesser quality opposition usually comes with a hefty payday and although Juventus’ new jewel in the crown will be given a large amount of money for his efforts it is at least commendable that he wants to continue playing in top tier competition.
Not only but with Cristiano Ronaldo being such a physical specimen then one does have to wonder if he can play at the highest level until he is in his 40’s. That may seem a little ludicrous to suggest he could play for another seven seasons but if anyone can do it so, it would be him.
Juventus’ bid for an eighth successive crown has arguably also been boosted by the fact that Napoli have lost their manager and one of their key players. Maurizio Sarri masterminded their second-place finish last season but he has now set up home in West London.
That is because he was recently named manager of Chelsea, replacing compatriot Antonio Conte after the former Juventus boss was shown the door after only finishing 5th in the Premier League last season.
Not only that but Napoli can no longer rely on the services of Jorginho in the centre of midfield. Meaning that they have suffered not just one hammer blow but two, as their hopes of pushing Juventus close once more have seemingly diminished.
Does this mean that Serie A is going to become a one-horse race season? The answer to that is probably, although at the same time we won’t really know the resolution to this until the Scudetto is handed out at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
If it is to be a one-horse race, then you do have to wonder just what the benefit to Juventus in the long run would be. There are already criticisms that Serie A along with the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are won at a canter and because of that they are stifling football in their respective countries.
But does the blame lie at the likes of Juventus or do the fingers have to be pointed at their nearest rivals for constantly falling short of the mark. Perhaps it is a statement that lies somewhere between the two but for the good of the Italian game it could do with a different team at the top of its mountain.
Napoli were not only being backed by their own fans, but they also become Italy’s second favourite team around the country last season as the ‘anyone but Juventus’ sentiment around the country began to take hold.
Unfortunately, though Juventus showed just why they are so successful as they kept the young pretenders at bay. It was that experience of winning titles in the past which ultimately got them over the line once more.
And with Napoli now seemingly weakened after the departure of both Sarri and Jorginho then it could well be that Juventus make it eight in a row with ease. Something that could go on to assist their hopes of winning the Champions League.
If they can rest and rotate on a home front then it means that their key players will be fresh when it matters, that being the latter stages of the Europe’s premier club competition as they look to be the first Italian team to win the trophy since Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan did in 2010.
Should Cristiano Ronaldo help Juventus to the Champions League summit then it would mean a sixth individual success in the competition and four wins in a row, and Juventus odds to win the Calcio, (in France, UK, Spain) have decreased immediately after Ronaldo has been announced in Italy. Juventus may have paid a huge amount of money to bring him to Turin, but he could go on to be worth every single penny.

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