This season, the Portuguese will have silenced many of his critics. At 35, he has had one of the most important seasons of his career, and if Juventus have won their 36th scudetto this season, it is largely thanks to him. But while Italy’s best club has the best player in the world, he is also going through his biggest existential crisis. So what is the outcome? Between historical records and frustration, a real mystery surrounds the Portuguese star.
CR7: The man with the records
The first player to score more than 25 goals in 3 of these major leagues (Premier League, Liga, and Serie A). Equals the record for most consecutive goals in the league. Portuguese top scorer in Serie A ahead of Rui Costa. The only player to have scored a hat-trick in 10 different competitions. Lists all of Juventus’ goals in the C1 finals since his arrival. He is the fastest ever scorer to score more than 50 goals in Serie A, the record number of goals over a season for Juventus: 31 (equalling a record of 86). Involved in every Turin goal since 2020 when he played and, as a symbol, scorer of the Old Lady’s 5,000th goal in the league, he has not known old age.
Since arriving in Italy, the 35-year-old striker has been a constant thorn in the side. This season, we’ve seen him take to the air, defying the laws of physics – sorry, Newton. At 11 meters and despite his Mediterranean blood, he has been seen colder than the top of the Alps overlooking Turin. He is a puncher in the perpetual quest for youth and has knocked out the god Chronos himself. If Ronaldo always ends his seasons in crescendo, this season, in particular, he literally carries the Vecchia Signora on his shoulders.
CR7: The man of remorse
As the days go by and the records pile up, however, frustration remains his most faithful companion on the pitch. Despite being recognized for his skills as a sniper, CR7 has been suffering for the past two years from the illness of Serie A forwards: lack of cynicism. If he scores so much in Italy, it is because he is the player who has tried the most shots this season (138), adding a confusing efficiency ratio. Cristiano is a competitor at heart, he thrives on challenge and does not see failure as a possibility. This year, he has to endure: a defeat in Supercoppa and then Coppa Italia, a health crisis depriving him of his passion (to survive, he takes refuge in his gym 26 hours a day), the shadow of Ciro Immobile and yet another humiliation in his favorite league, the Champions League. If we add to that a few missed penalties, an incalculable series of calamitous free-kicks, a lack of cohesion with his colleagues, and a touch of selfishness inciting him to seize the slightest opportunity, synonymous with a good number of lost balls… The balance sheet is dark. In short, that Ronaldo is a diva is obvious, but that he could penalize the collective is a cruel but real possibility symbolized by frustration that has never been so evident before.
After all, between record and regret, there is only one “m”. Maurizio Sarri’s, perhaps. Coincidence? Not for some juvenile forever skeptical about this (unexpected) collaboration. With the scudetto in his pocket on his first (and last) season, the balance sheet is still a zero point for Sarri. It was a failure (also) linked to the frustrations visible on the Portuguese’s face, the latter having never carried the Florentine coach in his heart despite justified decisional problems for the mister: could he keep CR7 out of his squad? Can such an ego be tamed? After all, Juve has never suffered as much as they have since the arrival of Hurricane Ronaldo. An addiction perhaps?
While there is no reason to believe the Portuguese star will not be playing in Serie A next year, there is no doubt that his future with Juve is in doubt, despite the fact that the marriage was a perfect one.