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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Italy Meets Portugal: A Move for the Ages

Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and now, Juventus.

At 15 years old, Portuguese left-winger Cristiano Ronaldo was diagnosed with a racing heart; now, amidst all the transfer rumors on where the five time Ballon d’Or winner will go, it is fair to say spectators’ hearts have slowed down as he has finally landed in Italy.

Juventus is the next benefactor of Ronaldo’s talent, leadership, and marketability. What he brings to the table is not properly portrayed by just numbers, but it is worth a look.

During the past four years at Real Madrid, he has tallied 127 games played, 134 goals scored, and 38 assists. CR7 has produced, undeniably, world class numbers, and he has been playing at this level for almost a decade now.

In La Liga, Ronaldo has brought in 15 trophies, including two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, four UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, and three FIFA Club World Cups. He is the only player to reach 30 goals in six consecutive La Liga seasons, and he is the recipient of back to back Ballons d’Or in 2016 and 2017. Ronaldo is still in his prime, and is only getting better.

Juventus, as any team, will welcome the Portuguese man with open arms. With recent struggles at finding a suitable winger, Juventus can now let out a sigh of relief knowing the best Portuguese player of all time will hold down the offensive instead of the likes of Douglas Costa or Juan Cuadrado.

Paired with arguably the best defensive line in world soccer including Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, and Alex Sandro, it is very possible Ronaldo can be even better at Juventus than Real Madrid. He won’t have to track back and waste energy, and alongside Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, anybody can see that this team tests the 2016-2017 Barcelona front three for the best in recent history.

Ronaldo, along with undeniable production on the field, brings something to the table that, apart from Lionel Messi, nobody else can replicate. It was estimated that last season Ronaldo brought in nearly one billion dollars worth of sponsorships. He has his own clothing, underwear, and cologne brand, along with signature shoes and a goal celebration that everybody is familiar with; essentially, Italy will cash out because of the Portuguese prodigy.

Looking ahead, the next Champions League will be one to watch. Messi and Barcelona, Ronaldo and Juventus, and, very possibly, Neymar and Real Madrid, lends to a triad of powerhouses that can all very well take home the championship.

Ronaldo can very well bring out the best in forward Paulo Dybala as well. Dybala, at just 24 years old, is probably the best young talent in world soccer. His ceiling is incredibly high, and having him practice alongside, analyze film with, and mimic Cristiano Ronaldo’s play style and tendencies will make him a scary prospect going into next season.

A sturdy defense, a crafty midfield, and a daunting, fierce, talented front line makes next season’s Juventus immediate contenders for the coveted UEFA Champions League title. The 2018-2019 Juventus squad is one for the history books.

-Adam

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