Champions League 2021 - 'The Cristiano Ronaldo experiment hasn’t worked' - should Juventus cut ties?
Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to be the missing piece in Juventus’ hunt for Champions League glory when he joined from Real Madrid in 2018, but the Italian side have not got past the quarter-finals since. Is it time for the Old Lady to move on? And why are Liverpool a completely different team to the one failing in the Premier League? It is all in the new Eurosport x The Beautiful Game podcast.
'The Cristiano Ronaldo experiment has failed for Juventus'
A quarter-final appearance and two last-16 exits are not the return Juventus were expecting when they recruited Cristiano Ronaldo to bring them Champions League glory.
So is it time for the Italian side to let him go? It was one of the topics of discussion in the latest Eurosport x The Beautiful Game podcast, which looked back at this week’s round of 16 matches.
Juventus were beaten in extra-time by Porto on away goals, with the score 4-4 on aggregate, while Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund all consolidated first leg wins by going through, knocking out RB Leipzig, Barcelona and Sevilla respectively.
The Beautiful Game’s trio of Justin Cole, Dotun Abijoh and Deji Odedina were joined by Eurosport’s Pete Sharland to discuss the big talking points, including the anomaly that is Liverpool’s bizarre season.
On Ronaldo though, Sharland thinks it is time to accept the big move from Real Madrid in 2018 has not worked out.
“They can’t think of a way to get him and Paulo Dybala playing well at the same time,” he said.
“They brought a whole bunch of expensive wingers in, of which one, Federico Chiesa, has worked.
“I look it now and think you’ve invested so much money into him, you’re now at a stage where you’re out of the Champions League and you’re possibly going to lose Serie A.
If I was Juventus I would be making some calls around to see if anyone wants to take him off their hands this summer.
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“The Ronaldo experiment hasn’t worked out”, added Abijoh.
“I think this is the beginning of the end for Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus”.
There was also a lot of praise for Porto, and in particular Portugal and former Real Madrid veteran Pepe.
“Pepe’s someone who’s seen as a villain, football fans love to hate, master of the dark arts”, said Odedina.
“This was football at its purest - defending well, heading the ball, leading your defence. But Porto are a soft touch in the Champions league, every big team will be licking their chops.”
What is going on at Liverpool?
Liverpool went into their second leg with Leipzig on the back of another Premier League defeat - this time to Fulham. But in Europe, they have been a completely different side - one more reminiscent of the title-winning team in 2019/20. In Budapest, they won their second leg 2-0 to go through 4-0 on aggregate.
Odedina was one of the panel members who can not suss it out, and says he has spoken to an unnamed player recently who claims the fear of playing the English champions has disappeared.
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“What is going on? These are guys that were putting teams to the sword last season. How have you lost your magic touch?” he said.
“I was speaking to a player who’s visited there in the last few days and weeks and I said what’s different about this Liverpool to previous teams?
“Summarising, he said this Liverpool, they will probably put you under wave of attacks, whereas before it was a 90-minute barrage.
The conversations now aren’t how do we stop Liverpool - it’s more about, how can we impose ourselves on Liverpool? We can get some joy, they’re not the force they once were, they’ve lost this cloak of invincibility.
“I was a bit surprised Leipzig didn’t get the memo."
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