Cristiano Ronaldo's greed and astronomical wages have made Juventus worse than they have been in a decade
Cristiano Ronaldois one of the best players in history, but he has made Juventusworse.
- The Portuguese forward's greed has led to the rest of the team failing to perform.
- Two years ago Ronaldo promised Juve would win the Champions League. Now it faces its worst season in a decade.
In 2019, a year after Cristiano Ronaldo had joined Juventus from Real Madrid for a
"After winning what I won at Madrid I needed a change and new motivation," he said. "I still have the strength to keep winning.
"Juventus will win the Champions League. I don't know if it'll be this year or the next, but it's coming."
Two years on from making that pledge, Juventus has not won the Champions League, and is instead on the cusp of failing to qualify for the competition for the first time in a decade.
And a lot of that is down to Ronaldo himself.
Ronaldo's Juventus currently sits fifth in the Serie A table, one spot outside the Champions League places, and now relying on the teams above it to drop points in the final three games of the season if it wants to qualify.
It also faces newly crowned champion Inter Milan - which stopped Juventus winning the title for the first time in 10 years - and an in-form Sassuolo in what is a tricky run-in.
Head coach Andrea Pirlo has received criticism for Juventus' poor season, however, plenty of fingers have also been pointed at Ronaldo, and rightly so.
One of those who has been critical of the 36-year-old is the former Bianconeri midfielder Massimo Mauro.
"Ronaldo has never been a leader where he has played and he never will be," Mauro told Gazzetta dello Sport in April.
"He is like a company and his turnover is more important to him than the success of the team.
"Cristiano doesn't drag his team-mates along with him, he always wants them to give him the ball to score goals.
'He is not a team player'
"He is a great individualist, he is not a team player," Mauro concluded. He's right.
Prior to Ronaldo's arrival in Turin, Juventus was a sturdy, well drilled, team that relied on the contributions of many rather than the magic of individual superstars to deliver success.
In the season before Ronaldo's move from Madrid, Juventus had eight players who scored five or more goals in all competitions throughout the season, while it also boasted two - Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain - who broke the 20 goal mark.
In the 2016/17 season, Juve had seven players to score over five or more goals throughout the campaign, while Higuain (32) and Dybala (19) again shared the goal scoring spoils.
In the near three seasons Ronaldo has now spent at the Allianz Arena, there has been a clear shift in the team's goal scoring dynamic.
In his first season, Ronaldo top scored with 28, while no other player scored more than 10 and only four scored five or more. In his second season, Ronaldo again top scored with 37, while Dybala hit 17, Higuain got just 11, and no other player in the squad managed five or more.
This season, Ronaldo has again top scored with 34, while Alvaro Morata has 18 (though just nine in Serie A), and only two more players have scored five-plus goals.
While it may not sound a bad thing for one player to take on the majority goal scoring responsibility for a team, in the case of Ronaldo, his own exploits have had a detrimental effect on those around him.
In the case of his fellow attackers, that detriment is highlighted by the fact that Ronaldo leads Serie A this term in number of shots taken, shots on target, and carries into the box - but no other Juventus player makes the top nine in any of those categories.
Over the past two seasons, Ronaldo has also laid on just 11 assists for his teammates. FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi - Ronaldo's long-term attacking adversary - has set up 41 in the same period.
Lots of goals, not many important ones
99 goals in 130 games for Juventus is admittedly an impressive return.
However, break those goals down, and what you see is a pattern of Ronaldo shining against smaller teams and failing, for the most part, to show up against Juve's biggest competitors.
In his debut Serie A campaign, for instance, the Portugal international scored just three goals against teams who finished in the top five.
A hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and the winner over AC Milan in the Italian Super Cup were vital contributions, however Ronaldo's presence in big games has dwindled drastically since.
This term, the Portuguese has scored 12 goals against Serie A's bottom five teams, but just one against the top four.
He's also stopped the club from reinforcing
When Juventus first signed Ronaldo, the club committed to pay $404 million in transfer fees and wages over the space of just four seasons to have him on its roster.
Such a large financial commitment resulted in Juventus posting a $48m loss at the end of Ronaldo's first season.
The following season, the club posted a loss of $109 million, according to Statista, while this term, the club has already announced losses of $138 million.
While the global COVID-19 pandemic has of course played a large part in that, Ronaldo's astronomical $38 million annual wages have not helped, and have prevented Juventus from investing elsewhere on the pitch.
In the three years since Ronaldo signed, Juve has spent a net $84 million on new talent. In the three years prior, the club splashed out $118 million.
That's a difference of $34 million, just $4 million shy of Ronaldo's annual wages in that time.
Given Ronaldo promised Juventus the Champions League but has instead steered it the Europa League, that is money not well spent.
"Juventus signed him to win the Champions League, but they've done worse with him than they've done before," the former Real Madrid and Italy striker Antonio Cassano told Corriere dello Sport in February.
In a later interview with Bobo TV, per MARCA, Cassano added: "If you sell Cristiano, there is 100 million euros with which you can sign a couple of top players.
"Cristiano only thinks about his goals and records."
Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the greatest individuals in the history of the sport, but he has made Juventus a less threatening overall prospect both domestically and in Europe
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