As the dust begins to settle on Cristiano Ronaldo’s £99.2 million move from Real Madrid to Juventus – thoughts turn to where the Portuguese superstar will play for the Turin club.
His departure from Spain was confirmed on Tuesday evening, with the club thanking their all time top scorer for his nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu as he heads for pastures new in Italy.
Ronaldo, now 33, appears driven by the prospect of winning a major league title in three European countries, as well as breaking Juventus’ 22 year Champions League hoodoo.
Therefore the most likely person to be ousted by Ronaldo is his former Real Madrid team mate Gonzalo Higuain.
Ronaldo has operated as central striker for both Real and Portugal in the past three seasons, moulding his game to maximise his finishing ability and pace in and around the eighteen yard box.
That has seen his goal return continue to rise season on season, but it also means that he is now very specific in the role that he operates in – something Juventus will be very aware of when buying him.
Ronaldo is likely to only have another two seasons at the top level remaining, despite Juventus’ ability to prolong the careers of thirty somethings in the past, and he will play.
That central attacking role, flanked by Dybala and Cuadrado has been Higuain’s domain since he moved to the club in July 2016.
However 40 Serie A goals for the Argentina international is not a return in the same stratosphere as Ronaldo, and there is a nagging concern that he has failed to really turn it on for Juventus in big games- particularly in Europe.
His days could well be numbered and a move abroad is the most likely option – with former side Napoli in no mood to take him back.
With Napoli’s exiled boss Maurizio Sarri set to move to Chelsea, he could take his former player with him to Stamford Bridge as part of his designs on getting them back into the Premier League top four.
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