Cristiano Ronaldo was upstaged by Sampdoria’s Fabio Quagliarella

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In Italy Juventus and in particular new signing Cristiano Ronaldo had it all their own way once again. Winning the league with weeks to spare and an 8th successive title. Ronaldo seamlessly joined the club from Real Madrid last summer and became the first ever player to win a Premier League title a Spanish one and then an Italian league. But there was one trophy he wasn’t able to get and it may have been his most jarring- the top goal scorer award which went to Fabio Quagliarella.

A former Juventus player himself Quagliarella now plays for Sampdoria and had a fantastic season scoring 26 goals in all and winning the trophy for top goal scorer. But what has been even more impressive about the player is that he seems to be getting better with age. His 26 goals are the most he has scored in a season and he is now 36. Indeed the season before he netted 19 goals which is his 2nd best campaign.

Of course Ronaldo will be content with a Serie A league title in his debut season but as everybody knows the Portuguese player loves statistics and loves scoring goals and one has to wonder if not landing the prize as top goal scorer has left a bad taste in his mouth?

Or is it simply that Ronaldo is running out of gas? Ronaldo’s haul of 21 league goals is his worst since he was in the Premier League playing with Manchester United in the 2008/09 season. While that sounds shocking he has only played 30 games this season in the league, the last time that happened was in the 2013/14 season with Real Madrid where he was able to score 31 goals, 10 more than this season.

Ronaldo is 34 and it would only be natural that his level would go down, or simply it could be a different manner of things. We should remember that he went the first few weeks of the season without scoring for Juventus, even though he had some superb chances and sometimes was simply unlucky. Purists will point to the fact that Italian football is better defending and seen as an art in the league and that is the reason that Ronaldo has scored his lowest tally in the league in a decade.

It will be fascinating to see how Ronaldo reacts next season, for now Juventus will be massive favourites to win another league title, their 9th in a row perhaps? And that will mean that Ronaldo will get plenty of chances to score goals, maybe he just needed that first season to fit in.

 

 

Allegri will not return as Juventus coach in 2019/20

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Juventus announced with a tweet that Massimiliano Allegri will not coach the team next season. The manager and the top exectuives have been meeting at the Continassa training center in the last couple of days and the summit resulted in a separation, even though the president Andrea Agnelli confirmed the coach after the Champions League elimination and Allegri affirmed his desire to stay multiple times in the most recent pressers. He had a year left on his contract. The chairman and Allegri will explain the decision tomorrow in the usual pre-game presser.

Allegri joined Juventus in July 2014 after Antonio Conte’s abrupt departure in the middle of July and proceeded to win the following five titles in a row, adding four Coppe Italia and two Supercoppa. Continue reading

Allegri unveils his book

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Coach Massimiliano Allegri unveiled his book ‘È molto semplice’ (“It’s very easy”) yesterday, so here are the more relevant parts of the presentation: “Everybody will tease me in Livorno because nobody would have ever thought I would write a book. It was an adventure, it was my first one but I hope to do some more, because it would mean that I have had some more experiences. It lists 32 rules and some anecdotes.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “He is better than the others on mental level. He sets new targets for himself every day. It is a really hard thing to do for somebody that has won as much as he did at age 34. He is lethal in that aspect, his lucidity and fierceness are incredible. We can all learn from him, I for instance learned that it does not happen often to be able to coach the best in the world. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 36

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Juventus could not capitalize on a strong first half at the Olimpico Stadium, lost the plot and run out of gas in the second half and eventually conceded two silly goals and suffered the third Serie A loss of the year at the hands of Roma. No point-getters in this case for the Old Lady.

Martin Caceres: sometimes the best attribute for a centre-back is to not be mentioned for the whole duration of a game and that what the Uruguayan defender did on Sunday, holding in check Edin Dzeko and matching the adversary’s physicality. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 36

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Atalanta-Genoa: the Bergamaschi keep soaring and bested Lazio in a seminal clash last week, garnering their third win a row and building a little lead over Roma in the race to get the fourth position. They have not been defeated since the beginning of March. The Griffon is coming off two 1-1 ties in a row, versus SPAL and Roma, squandering a massive late opportunity on Sunday. They are four points above the third-to-last position. Suspensions are piling up for Gian Piero Gasperini and he will not be able to count on two defensive centre-pieces, Gianluca Mancini and Andrea Masiello, and more importantly on Alejandro Gomez, which will also not allow him to rotate the squad much ahead of next week’s cup final. Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata will take on an even larger load than usual: the Slovenian genius has been slowed down by some nagging injuries, while the Colombian powerhouse continues to lay hurt on opponents. Continue reading

Cristiano Ronaldo’s other Love

It’s quite common for high profile sporting figures around the world to develop a love for
gambling in its many forms. From sports betting to poker, slots to blackjack, there are
sports stars who have taken these games and activities to heart. Many of those who have developed a passion for these games, would have done so after visiting some of the most exclusive casino venues in the world. It is here that a particular game usually appeals to a person and it then becomes a regular pastime.

One such sporting figure, or should we say mega star, who has developed a huge passion for poker is Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo, 34, who signed for the Italian side last summer after enjoying a stellar 9-year stint at Real Madrid is a big
lover of poker and has taken part in numerous games and tournaments over the years.

You could say that it comes as no surprise for Ronaldo to have developed an
understanding and love for poker, as he was introduced to gaming many years ago after
joining Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon. The Portuguese star’s English wasn’t the best when he made the switch to England, so he was given a DVD bingo game to help him brush up on his skills. This will have undoubtedly stood him in good stead as he moved into the more advanced world of poker.

Ronaldo’s poker passion also saw the Ballon d’Or winner secure a deal with mega brand PokerStars, and this saw the Portuguese attacker play both online and at live events around the world, affording him the opportunity to travel to and play at some of the world’s leading casino venues. Ronaldo, a sporting figure who does a lot for good causes, also once took part in a special charity game of poker alongside the likes of actor Aaron Paul, a game which CR7 managed to go on and win.

The five-time Champions League winner has spoken about poker and what it means to
him multiple times over the years saying, “Although football is my world, poker has always been my game.” He went on to add, “I love to play poker, it’s a fantastic game that I play with friends and family. To challenge the best players in the world is a pleasure for me.”

The last sentence gives us a great indication about Ronaldo’s outlook in general, as he’s always up for challenging the best on the football pitch, and the same applies at the poker table too.

So, with Ronaldo now aged 34 and nearing the twilight of his footballing career, a move into poker on a more regular basis could be on the cards. He’d certainly have no problem being invited to the top casinos and poker events around the world, and as a global brand, he would be sure to strike up some great sponsorship deals along the way too.

Ronaldo expounds on weight of expectations and Pjanic hints at PSG

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Cristiano Ronaldo gave a wide-ranging interview to El Pais last week, providing an interesting peek into his mentality. He started by addressing the need to always prove his worth: “Sometimes it annoys and tires me, because every year I have to show that I am the best. It is difficult to have this kind of pressure where you to demonstrate something to the others, your family, your mother, your son and not just to yourself. This makes you active, you have to practice all the time, but there are moments where you would like to be left alone.”

On football: “I see it as a mission: I want to get on the pitch, win, improve. There were times where I just focused on dribbling past opponents, now there is more pressure, I am always scrutinized. People say that at 33/34 you are done, you should quit, but I want to surprise them.” Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 35

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Standings implications: Atalanta defeated Lazio and can the smell Champions League since Roma equalized against Genoa and Torino shared the spoils with Juventus. They are also one point away from Inter, who tied with Udinese. Milan outlasted Bologna and pulled even with the Giallorossi three points awai from the fourth place. The Biancocelesti dropped to minus seven, so barring something crazy they can only aim for Europa League. Napoli clinched the second position with a late comeback. Empoli bested Fiorentina and cut Udinese’s lead to two points and the Griffon’s one to four, thus rekindling their hopes. Frosinone have been mathematically relegated as Sassuolo completed the comeback late, while SPAL are officially safe after pummeling Chievo. Parma and Sampdoria drew in a meaningless but entertaining bout.  Continue reading

Allegri previews the Derby della Mole

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Another week, another pre-game presser for Massimiliano Allegri: “Daniele Rugani has been ruled out because of a sore adductor. Martin Caceres is back, Andrea Barzagli is doing better but I will let him rest. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will start tomorrow, we will not use a three-man defense.”

On his future: “We will meet to plan and talk about this season, what worked and what did not and what we can do ahead of the next one. We have to evaluate how to improve the squad, what our goals will be and what the ideas of the president will be. It is normal, we have talked this morning and the day before yesterday. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 35

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Juventus-Torino: the Bianconeri have no more achievements to pursue in Serie A, but they still showed up at San Siro last week and equalized in the second half after a poor start. They have yet to drop one at home. The Granata continue to be in the hunt not only for a Europa League berth: the fourth spot is four points away. They have defeated Milan and Genoa in their last two contests and have lost just once in the past 14. Cristiano Ronaldo scored last week and Miralem Pjanic has contributed with two assists recently. Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean are alternating next to the Portuguese ace, but neither is in supreme form, while Juan Cuadrado is starting to look sprier and Joao Cancelo is coming back on too. Continue reading