foxsports: All that money, for what? With Real Madrid vanquished and the competition’s best player among their troops, Juventus had a golden opportunity in this year’s Champions League.
But ultimately, their European dream was cruelled by Ajax on their own turf, leaving their season’s quest unfulfilled.
It’s no secret the Italian giants spent $176m on a 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo in the hope of adding European football’s most coveted prize to their collection. A cabinet that features the last seven Serie A titles and four Coppa Italias on the trot.
And now their wait to end a 24-year drought goes on.
Not even splashing the cash on Ronaldo, the most successful player in the competition’s history in terms of trophies and goals could power them to success. Even more agonisingly, for the first time since 1981-82, Juventus were knocked out by a team outside the top five leagues.
Ajax had already knocked out the back-to-back-to-back holders in Real Madrid, and Juve were handed arguably the easiest opponent of the seven remaining, and yet they too fell to the Dutch outfit.
It was anybody’s guess who would etch their names on the trophy, with Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool and Juve the favourites to progress to the final four and duel it out from there.
But instead the Ajax fairytale continued, and it’s back to the drawing board for Massimiliano Allegri. The Juve boss was quick to assure his future after the exit.
“I already talked with the president, I will remain at Juve next season and we are already planning the next campaign,” said Allegri.
European football is a cutthroat business, and the Italian tactician would no doubt have seen other managers fall on their swords after similar failures. One that comes to mind is Unai Emery at PSG after they too failed to progress after spending aimed at dominating this competition specifically.
But where does it leave Ronaldo?
Many postulated that the Portuguese superstar would stand alone the pantheon of all-time footballers as the greatest ever should he lift the title with a third team. Obviously, that hasn’t eventuated. However, his legacy can hardly be considered dented especially when he scored in both legs of this lost tie as well as the hat-trick that took Juve to the final eight.
This exit is hardly his fault.
“Ronaldo gave us a lot during the season and especially in the Champions League,” Allegri said.
“Ajax are a great team, I cannot say much to my players tonight.
“Ajax have several good players and play good football, they are no underdogs. How they can be after scoring five goals against Real Madrid [in the previous round]?
“I would not say that this is our worst elimination. Juventus have always the same objective: Winning everything.
“Sometimes you can reach the final, sometimes you can’t.”
For the first time since 2015, Cristiano Ronaldo will not win the Champions League. pic.twitter.com/8vhyqGcLDX
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 16, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo may be out of the UCL this season, but he’s put up some incredible numbers over the past 9 years. pic.twitter.com/wOjoOYLVWf
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 16, 2019
Albeit, the competitor he is, this exit would have hurt Ronaldo — who won’t feature in the semis for the first time in nine years.
Add a masterclass from his great rival Lionel Messi against Manchester United on the same nigth into the mix, and there’s no doubt there would have been one angry Portuguese forward on the way home from the ground.
Ultimately, Juventus must go another season wondering what might have been and hatch a plan even more fool proof than signing the Champions League’s best player.
And Ronaldo can only keep doing what he does. Scoring goals on the big stage.
Source: Published by foxsports