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Can Ronaldo end Juve's long Euro wait?

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By Football Italiano

Friday 12 July 2019

At times, it is hard to underestimate the influence of Cristiano Ronaldo, at both club and international level.

It is easy to think that because he has played for teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus, his medal collection is bound to be impressive – and it is.

In 13 seasons, from 2006/07 through to 2018/19, he has been a member of six successful league winning sides, seven times a Champions League winner, and has even captained an otherwise mediocre Portugal national team to glory at Euro 2016.

This totals 14 major honours, which average out at more than one a season, and does not include cup competitions and individual awards.

And, on numerous occasions throughout his career, he has probably been the difference between success and failure in La Liga, Premier League and more recently Serie A.

More Italian Success
When he joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer of 2018, the Old Lady of Turin had already won seven consecutive Serie A titles, which quickly became eight with Ronaldo at the helm.

In the two seasons prior to joining Juve, they had won Italy’s top division by four points.

But in 2018/19 they triumphed by 11, clinching the title with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina on April 20.

At this stage, they still had five more league matches left to play. In fact, Juventus ended the season extremely poorly, winning just one of their last seven.

They only lost four Serie A games all campaign, with three of these arriving during the closing seven fixtures – otherwise, the points margin would have been even greater.

The major disappointment for Juventus was their failure to win the Champions League – which was probably the main reason why they signed Ronaldo in the first place.

Their European hopes were extinguished by Ajax who won 2-1 in Turin in the second leg of their quarter-final, which came just four days before they beat Fiorentina to secure an eighth Serie A crown.

Having started the season with 10 straight wins in all competitions, Juventus ended it in a whimper with just one victory in nine, which included four defeats.

Future Targets
Looking ahead to 2019/20, Ronaldo has three main targets in mind. Firstly, try to win a ninth Serie A title for Juve but, probably more importantly, focus on helping his Italian side claim a first Champions League title in 24 years, while steering Portugal to the latter stages of Euro 2020.

Only last month, Portugal triumphed in the UEFA Nations League final, beating the Netherlands 1-0 on home turf in Porto.

Next, they will attempt to successfully defend their European Championship title, when the final stages are held at Wembley.

Taking a look at international football betting odds for this tournament, which has only recently got underway, and you will find that Portugal are not among the front-runners. Bet365 have them positioned behind France, England, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Netherlands, at 16/1.

The bookies rate the Champions League as a bigger opportunity for Ronaldo, with Juventus currently listed at 10/1 – Manchester City are the favourites.

And in many ways, this would be Ronaldo’s crowning glory, if he could end two decades of hurt for Juve who have lost five Euro finals since they last lifted the trophy in 1996.

This includes the 2017 match against Real Madrid when Ronaldo netted twice in a 4-1 thrashing at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

He turns 35 next February, so this might just be Juve's big chance to become European club champions for a third time.

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