After a slow start to life in Italy, the doubts surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo are starting to grow and the Juventus star is now desperate to silence his critics once and for all.
The reaction to the 33-year-old’s move to the Italian champions has been mixed, with some suggesting he won’t find life as easy in Turin.
“Cristiano is going to find it difficult to score goals in Italy,” Raul Albiol said.
“Ronaldo? The real genius was Ronnie [Ronaldo Nazario],” Sebastien Frey, the ex French goalkeeper suggested.
But, having not joined up with the Portuguese national team, Ronaldo has used the international break to gather his thoughts in a bid to return to his best form and score his first Juventus goal.
Agreement with Fernando Santos
Ronaldo agreed with Portugal coach Fernando Santos that he wouldn’t join up with his compatriots in the recent international break, something which he hasn’t done voluntarily since November 2017, in order to avoid fatigue and focus his efforts on his fourth league match with the Old Lady.
Juventus face Sassuolo on Sunday and despite failing to get his name on the scoresheet in the opening three matches, Ronaldo is confident that his drought will end having put together an individual, calculated plan.
You certainly cannot doubt Ronaldo‘s effort and commitment so far this season both on the pitch and during the last fortnight.
No player in Europe’s top five leagues has taken more shots than the Portuguese with 23 efforts to his name.
Only Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, with 20, and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, with 19, are close.
While Ronaldo is desperate to get off the mark, his lack of goals so far hasn’t stopped Juventus from picking up wins, remaining unbeaten and sitting top of the Serie A table.
Refine his accuracy
However, despite his many attempts, Ronaldo has lacked accuracy in his shooting having only managed nine shots on target which represents 39 percent of his total efforts.
It’s clear that he is not enjoying his most efficient time in front of goal and this drought of sorts could be prolonged to four matches if he doesn’t bag against Sassuolo.
That said, this wouldn’t be his worst run having not found the net for the same period of time last season and in 2016/17. The Portuguese never went more than four games without a goal in his Real Madrid career though.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and the team are pulling together to help their star man score his first goal for the club. The Italian boss has been working relentlessly on his full-backs advancing and delivery balls into the box to help Ronaldo put an end to this run.
The first clear piece of evidence in Allegri‘s plan is in the change of system. Last year, he favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation, but this year he has opted for 4-3-3, a decision which has brought casualties, most notably that of Paulo Dybala. This system has given extra importance to the full-backs and wing play above all else.
The statistics certainly back this up as Juventus have made more crosses than any other team in Italy’s top flight. Alex Sandro leads the way having delivered 23 balls to the box with Joao Cancelo on 11 and both Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado on nine apiece.
That’s the plan for the Old Lady and above all for Cristiano Ronaldo who can’t wait to hear the roar of the Juventus faithful when he finally scores his first goal in Italy.