Juventus are cruising to their 8th Serie A title in a row as they have extended their lead over Napoli to a massive 18 points with just 33 left on the table but it hasn’t been all plain sailing for the team when it comes to the Champions League.
The Old Lady have made life difficult for themselves coming into their 2nd leg against Atletico Madrid and are trailing the game 2-0. Though Juve will be at home in a packed stadium roaring them on, when the two teams meet the only thing that will matter will be who scores first. If it’s Juventus then their tails will be up and the ascendency will be fully with the Italians who could well end up making a fantastic comeback. But if Atletico score first then Juve will need 4, which even with a fit Ronaldo looks difficult to achieve.
The disappointment of exiting the Champions League would be huge for Juventus who bought Ronaldo at 33 for 100m euros based on the fact he had just won 3 Champions League titles in a row, and him and his team Real Madrid had beaten Juventus in the final and knocked them out of another competition. The signing of Ronaldo was supposed to be the final piece in the jigsaw to bring the glory back to the Italian giants who have not won the competition since 1996.
Since then it has been a history of also rans, maybes and defeats. In 1997 on the verge of winning back to back titles they were outclassed by German side Borussia Dortmund who won 3-1. Their next final came in 2003 which ended up being an all Italian one against AC Milan. After an inevitable 120 minutes of football with the scores locked at 0-0 Milan triumphed on penalties.
After a difficult decade in the 2000s which saw the team relegated through the bribery and betting scandals that engulfed in Serie A they bounced back to where they are now and completely dominating Serie A football. But that still included two more final losses in the Champions League. First in 2015 against Barcelona and then in 2017 against Real Madrid. It is a competition which just seems to allude them year after year.
It certainly did to club legend Gianluigi Buffon who took the risk to leave and join PSG, and the long line of misery followed him with PSG being knocked out at the round of 16. Juventus and Ronaldo could follow him and them in a season which could be written off as underwhelming even if they are dominating in Italy.