Cristiano Ronaldo hid Juventus' problems, claims Chiellini

Juventus waved goodbye to Cristiano Ronaldo at the end of August after three seasons at the club.

Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, signalling the end of one era at Juventus and the start of another.

Juventus hoped for a fresh start, that the players would be freed up without the pressure Ronaldo brings with him. Sadly it has not worked out that way just yet.

The team sit in fifth place in Serie A, 11 points behind leaders Inter Milan, while playing a game more.

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Juventus defender and Italy international Giorginio Chiellini insists Juventus problems were not down to Ronaldo, far from it.

The veteran told A Bola: “Cristiano hid the problems the team had. He was an important player. With a top player like him in the team, it’s easier to hide problems.”

He did add that he is pleased with how the side have coped without Ronaldo thanks to the way they have strengthened in midfield with Manuel Locatelli, admitting that he feared the impact from the superstar’s departure would have been even worse.

A lesson for United seen first hand

When United fans think back to pre-Cristiano Ronaldo, the 5-1 win over Leeds is not a fair reflection of a rosy time without him. Instead the poor results like the 1-1 draw scraped away at Southampton, or the home draw with Fulham last season, or even the embarrassing 1-0 loss to Sheffield United at Old Trafford, are more reflective of a side which struggled against lesser opponents even then.

This week United got a look at life without Ronaldo once again, when he missed the FA Cup match against Aston Villa due to injury.

The result was another terribly disjointed performance, with United getting off the hook thanks to two Villa goals being disallowed.

Take Ronaldo away and United are still an average side who cannot control matches. Just like at Juventus, he masks the team’s deficiencies with his goals.

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Ronaldo has struck 14 times this season, and no other player has even reached half that number, with Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood closest on five each. Without Ronaldo, the team would be out of the Champions League already too.

Whatever the future holds, when Ronaldo leaves, his absence is likely going to be felt a lot more than anybody anticipates.

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