Shortly after Real Madrid won their third consecutive Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo shocked the football world by hinting at a possible exit from the club. While some dismissed it as a postgame faux pas, many saw the growing rift between club president Fiorentino Perez and Ronaldo. Even after nine years of success with Los Blancos, it seemed that the superstar was ready to move on from Perez and Madrid.
Once Real informed that Ronaldo was indeed on the transfer market, Italian giants Juventus quickly jumped on the opportunity to sign one of the best players of all-time. Juve signed Ronaldo to a €100 million contract, giving the 33-year-old the highest annual pay in the world for any soccer player.
With all that money and his own history of success, there are, now, even greater expectations. Even though Ronaldo left Real, Juventus should not expect any less of the superstar over the next two years.
Here are three realistic expectations that Ronaldo can achieve with his new football team in that time:
Score the Most Goals in Serie A
Although Juventus have dominated the Serie A, winning the last seven league titles, the Italian Golden Boot race has always been close. Last season, Marco Icardi and Circo Immobile both scored 29 goals to lead the league. With Ronaldo in the league now, he may have a chance to score the most goals, as Juventus will be heavy favorites in most games.
Even though Ronaldo only scored 26 goals in La Liga last year, (which is subpar by his standard,) he did miss 10 games due to injury. A healthy Ronaldo that plays every game can easily cross the 30-goal plateau this season. With the support of French midfielder Blaise Matuidi and former Real teammate Gonzalo Higuaín at his side, Ronaldo may find his transition to Italian soccer much more smooth than some thought.
If Ronaldo wins the Italian Golden Boot, then he will likely also be in the race for the European award. If he was able to get another European Golden Boot at his age, and on another team, it will help further his legacy. The first step for him though is to climb to the top of the Italian goal charts.
Win all the Italian Silverware
As previously mentioned, Juventus has had no problems winning the Serie A, as well as the Coppa Italia, which they’ve won four times in a row. Yet, that would make it even worse for Ronaldo if he failed to carry Juventus to the crown again. Domestically, Juve have high expectations. If any player can fulfil those expectations though, it’s Ronaldo.
It should be expected for Juventus to win the league title and domestic cup in his first year at the club. In terms of Champions League success, if Juventus were to fail again in their pursuit of a crown, nobody would blame Ronaldo if they failed to do so.
Ronaldo’s main goal in his first full season at Juventus should be to dominate Italy as Juve have done for decades. So has Ronaldo, as he’s won the Premier League and La Liga titles with Manchester United and Real Madrid respectively. Anything less than winning a domestic double in his first year would be falling short, considering expectations.
Become the G.O.A.T.
For those somehow still unaware, G.O.A.T. stands for the Greatest Of All-Time. In modern soccer, many people believe it is either Lionel Messi or Ronaldo. Of course, there are the legends like Pelé and Maradona, amongst many others that can claim that title. There will always be debates between Messi, Pelé, Ronaldo, Maradona, and more as to who’s the better player. However, Ronaldo has the opportunity to simply out-achieve the others in terms of winning domestic trophies.
As mentioned, he won in England, Spain, and now has the chance to win in Italy. Dominating three domestic leagues would certainly add more to his claim of being the G.O.A.T. Furthermore, Ronaldo may have a chance this year to win a record sixth Ballon D’or. If he does, he’ll pass Messi for the most ever. Although he would have achieved this award due mainly to his play on Real, receiving it as a part of Juventus won’t hurt his quest at being the greatest.
Cristiano has won 26 trophies during his career, including five Champions League titles and one European championship with Portugal. Taking the international achievements out of the conversation, Ronaldo still would have the edge over Messi, in domestic silverware over his contemporaries. Including international achievements would certainly put Pelé and Maradona back in the conversation, and deservedly so.
Nonetheless, if Ronaldo keeps winning titles and scoring goals at a prolific pace, it will be hard to deny his G.O.A.T. status (and this is coming from a Messi admirer). He can help solidify his claim if he wins with Juventus, especially in the Champions League. Juventus hasn’t won the Champions League in over 20 years, despite reaching the finals several times the past two decades. A Ronaldo-led Juventus Champions League-winning squad could possibly cement Ronaldo’s legacy as the best to ever play.