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Champions League: Ronaldo, 35, and still giant - France 24


Champions League: Ronaldo, 35 and still giant

Rome (AFP)

The public enemy N.1 of defenses does not make its age: at 35, Cristiano Ronaldo succeeds with Juventus a dazzling start to the year 2020, which has enough to scare Lyon while the Portuguese arrives in his favorite period knockout matches in the Champions League.

It's even since the beginning of last December that Ronaldo has been unstoppable. By scoring against Sassuolo on December 1, the five-time Golden Ball started a streak that is still ongoing today by scoring at least one goal in each of the eleven Serie A matches it has played.

He thus joined Fabio Quagliarella and Gabriel Batistuta and will become the sole holder of the record if he still scores in his next league match.

During this impressive series, Ronaldo scored 16 goals and asserted himself as the only absolute certainty of Juventus, who is still looking for an identity this season under the orders of Maurizio Sarri.

The former Madrilenian also in the meantime celebrated his 35th birthday, an age when the knees of "normal" attackers normally start to creak and their backs to stiffen.

But not Ronaldo, compared by the Turin sports daily Tuttosport to a Barolo, the great Piedmontese wine, which softens as it ages.

"Cristiano is in extraordinary physical and mental shape and he scores at an impressive rate," said Sarri recently.

"He is one of the greatest of all time and it is not easy to improve it yet. But the compliments, you have to give them to his mom, because he has extraordinary natural qualities", added the Italian technician.

- Extraordinary visibility -

Interviewed last week by AFP, Massimilano Allegri, who led the phenomenon last season, his first in Italy, is full of praise either.

"He is a boy who is a very great professional and who behaves very well within the group. What struck me was his way of working. His main goal is to always be the best That is what makes 35 years old still decisive, "he said.

"Playing football is not only a question of technique but a question of mind. It takes a great mentality, a great will to sacrifice. Ronaldo is the demonstration of all this, because he is a player who, at 35 years, continues to question, in addition to the technical qualities he has. After five Ballons d'Or, five Champions Leagues, he is still preparing to achieve other goals, "added Allegri.

The main objective, and that is not good news for the Lyonnais, is of course the Champions League, after which Juventus has been running since 1996.

A year after falling to the quarterfinals against Ajax Amsterdam, the bianconero club and its superstar cannot afford another anticipated setback, which would also have serious financial consequences.

From this point of view, the Ronaldo operation remains for the moment a double-edged sword for Juventus, whose losses are increasing under the weight of the transfer and the salary of the Portuguese.

But Andrea Agnelli, the president of the club, assured Monday in the radio program Tutti Convocati that the choice made a year and a half ago was the right one.

"From Platini to Zidane, there have always been champions here. But today, the economic benefits are no longer the same. Ronaldo has increased our commercial revenues and he has given extraordinary visibility to our brand", a- he says.

© 2020 AFP

Source: france24

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