Cristiano Ronaldo is synonymous with goals and trophies, and the Portuguese dislikes it when he is not in those considerations.
It is unlikely to see Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence amongst goals. Such have been his performances that 28 goals in 43 outings for Juventus in his first season in Italy was considered a failure.
The fact that Ronaldo has only managed to score six goals in the current Serie A campaign have emboldened his critics. For any other player such a return would have been spectacular. But not for the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star.
His career tally stands at 608 goals across all competitions. Ronaldo is not one to be trifled with on the pitch. He has won five Champions League trophies across, more than what Lionel Messi has laid claim to.
And it is Messi’s record sixth Ballon d’Or award that would be running in Ronaldo’s mind. The 34 year old wants to retire as the best in the business and individual awards mean as much as collective rewards.
The battle for 2020’s Ballon d’Or has begun. And Lazio will be the first team to pay. To make matters interesting, Juventus need the win against the Romans to wrestle Serie A leadership away from Inter Milan.
Stadio Olimpico will be a battleground and the general wants his dues.
He has come under criticism for failing to adapt under Maurizio Sarri and reach his established high standards. While Paulo Dybala has found his scoring boots again, Ronaldo has floundered.
But such circumstances do not stay for long as long as the prolific striker is in conversation. He stands up when the moment comes. It was evident in Juventus’ last Champions League knockout campaign. Atletico Madrid and Ajax were put to the sword.
After Messi’s latest hurrah, goals against Lazio will be his sole focus.
Sarri is in his corner
And in Sarri he has a reliable ally. The Italian tactician helped transform Eden Hazard into a goal scoring machine last season. He will now be looking to rekindle Ronaldo’s explosive touch in front of goal.
Ronaldo and Dybala are central to Sarri’s tactics, and he admitted it while talking to reporters in Turin.
‘Right now, playing three forwards is difficult due to the characteristics of the players,” said Sarri.
‘You can’t prohibit Dybala from dropping deep, and at the same time Cristiano’s characteristics are not to play too central. We must take some precautions to fill the penalty area more.’
Cristiano Ronaldo is that guy to attack the opposition’s third. Just like at Santiago Bernabeu, Gonzalo Higuain will have to get ready to play second fiddle to Ronaldo. But the Argentina international knows what is at stake and was aware of the circumstances before the start of the season.
Fans and neutrals should get ready for Ronaldo’s assault on Serie A with renewed vigor.