Cristiano Ronaldo, 34, is rarely out of the spotlight and the Portuguese International made the headlines once again on November 10, 2019 following his second-half substitution. He is believed to have left the Juventus Stadium after playing just 55 minutes against AC Milan and reportedly didn’t stick around to witness his replacement Paolo Dybala send the club back to the top of Serie A.
Many former players and managers have offered their view on the situation. Fabio Capello was among the pundits who were quick to criticize the former Real Madrid forward for his actions.
However, Maurizio Sarri opted to play down the incident and told reporters that it is “only natural that a player is going to be irritated about leaving the pitch, especially when they’ve worked so hard to be there.” He also responded to claims that his behavior could be disrespectful to his team-mates by suggesting that the players would have to sort it out between themselves.
It was the second time inside seven days that the Madeira-born superstar has left the pitch enraged. He played 82 minutes against Lokomotiv Moscow on November 6, 2019 and was visibly frustrated to be replaced once again by Paolo Dybala.
Although the Argentine was not directly involved with Douglas Costa’s 93rd-minute winner, it proved to be another correct decision from the former Napoli boss, who once again saw his side leave it late in the Russian capital. It was Juventus’s second successive victory by a one-goal margin over their Group D rivals.
This narrow success was predicted by Dan Fitch in his football betting tips column for Betfair. It leaves the Bianconeri three points clear of their nearest challengers Atletico Madrid with just two games left to play.
While Ronaldo has scored five goals in his opening ten Serie A games this season, he is yet to register outside of Turin, Italy. He is still hugely influential on the pitch but niggly injuries have caused him to miss a couple of games already and he had made very little contribution to the game against AC Milan before making way in the second half.
Ronaldo has claimed just a single assist in the Italian top flight and although he is still able to produce match-winning moments, they do not appear to be anywhere near as frequent. Having said that, he is still a major player on the International stage and netted his 700th career goal whilst playing for the European champions in their Euro 2020 qualifier back in October 2019.
Claiming 10 assists, Ronaldo netted 28 goals last season. Although there is still a long way to go and plenty more football left to play, he does not appear to be competing at the same level this time around.
On current evidence, Ronaldo seems unlikely to match that total over the next six months. He has spoken candidly about the prospect of retirement although he has refused to put a date on it.
It is likely for Ronaldo to perform on the biggest stage when called upon but doubts are beginning to slowly creep in about whether the five-time Ballon d’Or winner can reproduce those kind of displays on a weekly basis. His latest outburst perhaps suggests that he is becoming increasingly frustrated with life in Turin but he still offers plenty to Sarri’s side.