If destiny has anything to do in football, then, it is safe to say Cristiano Ronaldo was not destined to play in the quarter-finals stage of the UEFA Champions League this season.
Recall that the 37-year-old Portuguese football icon left Juventus in August 2021, after spending a relatively successful three seasons at the Italian club.
Reports claimed that Juventus decided to bring Ronaldo to the club from Real Madrid on July 10, 2018, for a transfer fee worth €117 million with the hope that the Portuguese star would help them to win a UEFA Champions League title.
Unfortunately for both Ronaldo and Juventus, the Italian club failed to win it nor get close to winning it in the three seasons that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner spent at the club.
In fact, Juventus did not progress beyond the round of 16 stage for two successive seasons under Cristiano Ronaldo’s watch.
When the Portuguese football icon felt he could not get the best at Juventus, he decided to return to Manchester United, a club he played for between 2003 and 2009. The aims of joining Manchester United were to win more titles and set more records with the Premier League giants.
Unfortunately, things have not been easy for him and the Red Devils since he returned to the club. For instance, instead of United that finished second in the league last season, to compete for the league title this season, they are struggling for a top four finish.
Things have gotten so bad that the 2021-2022 season will end without a title for both Manchester United and Ronaldo. To crown it up, Manchester United were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 by Atletico Madrid after the Spanish club defeated United 1-0 at Old Trafford.
The development means that Ronaldo who is Champions League’s all-time highest goalscorer and has won the title five times would not play in the quarter-final stage of the tournament for the third successive season.
Life after Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus
At a point in Cristiano Ronaldo’s career, pundits believed that Juventus did not really need the aging football icon in Italy. Hence, when the 37-year-old Portuguese star decided to leave the Italian club, it was expected that the Italian club would perform better without Ronaldo.
Unfortunately, things have continued to remain bad for the Italian giants. Unlike in the past, Juventus are not fighting to win the Italian Serie A title, they are fighting to remain in the top four.
They are currently sitting on the fourth spot with 56 points in 29 games, seven points below first placed AC Milan, and seven points above 5th placed Lazio.
Just like Manchester United, the worst hit the club on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 when they could not beat lowly rated Villarreal to qualify for the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League campaign.
In the first leg of the round of 16, Juventus drew 1-1 with Villarreal in Spain and they were expected to finish the job in Italy. To the dismay of Juventus fans, Villarreal stunned the Italian giants 0-3 in Turin.
Hence, Juventus’ dream of winning this season’s UEFA Champions League title ended 4-1 on aggregate in favor of Villarreal which should have been a walk in the park for them.
From all indications, the exit of Juventus from the competition will be a great relief for Cristiano Ronaldo because if Juventus had progressed further, his critics would have confirmed that the Portuguese star was the problem of the club.
On his part, Ronaldo would have had an atom of regrets for leaving the Italian club for Manchester United if Juventus had made it to the next stage of the UEFA Champions League without him this season.
Juventus have been knocked out in the R16 in their last 3 Champions League campaigns:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 16, 2022
19/20 – Lyon ❌
20/21 – Porto ❌
21/22 – Villarreal ❌
Allegri’s men crashing out of Europe. 🇮🇹😬 #UCL pic.twitter.com/FfZP4OWGt7
Since he returned to Manchester United, Ronaldo has scored 18 goals and provided three assists in 33 games in all competitions. His contract with Manchester United will expire on June 30, 2023.
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