• Analysis

Record-breaker Ronaldo out to smash Verona tonight

Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hellas Verona
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A goal-hungry Cristiano Ronaldo has records in his sights for Juventus ahead of tonight’s visit to Hellas Verona in the Serie A.

Tonight will see Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus travel to 10th-placed side Hellas Verona chasing a seventh win in eight games.

Victory will propel Maurizio Sarri’s side into a six-point lead in the Serie A table until Inter Milan and Lazio have played on Sunday, at least.

Much of Juventus’ success in tonight’s game may depend on Ronaldo.

The Portuguese superstar didn’t have an easy start to the season. Because of injury problems and Sarri’s new methods, he struggled to hit top form for the Bianconeri.

Since December, however, Ronaldo has embarked on a terrific goal run and is arguably the most in-form player in Europe. The stats speak for themselves.

The forward has scored 20 goals in his last 15 appearances for club and country in all competitions. That’s a mind-blowing rate of 1.33 goals-per-game.

During this period, Ronaldo became the first Juventus player since David Trezeguet in 2005 to score in nine consecutive Serie A games. He can take the outright record for himself tonight with a goal.

But the big prize will have to wait for another match at least.

Bautista & Quagliarella’s record

The 35-year-old recently took his tally to 14 goals in nine outings by firing in two penalties during last weekend’s 3-0 win over Fiorentina.

It left Cristiano Ronaldo within touching distance of Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella’s Serie A record.

Gabriel Batistuta, Fabio Quagliarella, Serie A
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The duo share the record for scoring in 11 successive league fixtures in Italy.

Batistuta originally reached the landmark by embarking on an incredible goal-streak during the 1994/95 campaign. He scored in all of Fiorentina’s opening 11 games back then.

It began in a 2-1 opening day win over Cagliari on September 1994 and ended away to Juventus in December.

Batistuta bagged 13 goals in the process and finished as the Serie A’s highest scorer on 26 goals. Sadly, though, Fiorentina could only finish in 10th-place that season.

While the Argentina legend’s record remained untouched until Quagliarella equalled it last season.

The Sampdoria forward matched the feat in January 2019 by scoring the opening goal in a 4-0 win over Udinese. However, he drew a blank against Napoli shortly afterwards.

Nonetheless, Quagliarella finished as top scorer in last season’s Serie A with a surprise 26 goals in 37 appearances.

Now it is Ronaldo’s turn to have a crack at breaking Batistuta’s record, which has stood for over 15 years.

No plan to stop Ronaldo threat

Hellas Verona have enjoyed a decent run of form heading into tonight’s clash with Juventus. They’re unbeaten in seven Serie A games despite only winning three times in the process.

Hellas Verona
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But the Yellow and Blues impressively contained the high-flying Ciro Immobile in last Wednesday’s 0-0 draw away to Lazio.

The league’s leading goalscorer had no answer for Verona’s defence and, therefore, drew a rare blank.

Perhaps this is the reason Verona’s head coach Ivan Juric announced that he has prepared no countermeasures against Ronaldo.

When reporters asked him in Friday’s press conference if there are any plans to stop the Juventus star, Juric replied: “No, not for Ronaldo.”

That’s a bold approach on Juric’s behalf, but shows the level of confidence that the Croatian has in his players.

Of course, the last time Verona faced Juventus ended in a 2-1 defeat on September 21 in Turin.

Despite his injury problems back then, Ronaldo assisted Aaron Ramsey’s equaliser before scoring the winner with a penalty.

Although Sarri is refusing to take tonight’s opponents lightly.

“It’s clear they’re having a great season,” said the Juventus coach.

“They’ve been unbeaten for a long time and have a high-level coach. They’re an aggressive team and do very well.

“I think it’s clear to our players that it’ll be a difficult game and we have to approach it at a good level.

“By underlining this I would underestimate the intelligence of my players. Their season is there for all to see.”