Some critics have tried to claim that Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at Juventus wasn’t a success.

So we’ve decided to take a look back at the story of his final campaign in Turin as he prepares for his second spell at Manchester United.

36-year-old Ronaldo is a different player to the one which left Old Trafford in 2009; a ruthless goal-getter capable of making something out of nothing.

AC Milan v Juventus - Serie A
(Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images)

The numbers

Ronaldo grabbed 36 goals in 44 matches across all competitions last season for Juve.

He outscored Romelu Lukaku in Serie A – 29 to 24 – and the Belgian is being talked about as a gamechanger for Chelsea in terms of the Premier League title race.

Ronaldo scored eight goals in his first five league appearances of the season, a period which was interrupted by testing positive for Covid.

There were eight braces and a hat-trick – in a 3-1 win at Cagliari – over the course of the season.

In May, he became the fastest player in Juventus history to reach 100 goals for the club.

And don’t forget he followed that up by securing the Golden Boot at Euro 2020, despite Portugal going out in the round of 16.

 

He also won Serie A’s Best Striker award, ahead of Lukaku, for his efforts.

SS Lazio v Juventus FC - Serie A
(Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

What they said

Italian legend Andrea Pirlo was Ronaldo’s Juventus manager last season and just a month into the campaign, he said: “I’m happy to have this icon of world football, to see him every day, to have him at my disposal, to see him train and play.

“It’s an enormous pleasure for me, and for the whole team. He’s someone who works the same now, at 35, as he did as a young lad, with the same passion to play football every day. He’s an example for all of us.”

A month later, after a match-winning home brace against Cagliari, there was more praise from Pirlo: “He is a great professional, as we already knew. He is a real champion and the only advice I can give him is to keep going.”

In February, Ronaldo officially became highest goalscorer in football history.

Plenty of people have wondered where Ronaldo will fit into this United side, so Pirlo’s comments shortly after that record-breaking night are interesting: Cristiano’s made himself adaptable to our needs on the pitch.

“In some games he’s played more like a proper number nine when we asked our other striker to close down the opposition’s playmaker.

“In these games, he can play closer to the penalty area and be more effective in terms of goal scoring. He’s always adapted to what I’ve asked him to do.”

There was also praise from Pele after Ronaldo broke his official goal record in March.

It’s clear that Ronaldo is still capable of making the difference at key moments, but also that he is willing to adjust his game for the good of the team.

Both of those things bode exceptionally well for United this season and he is more than capable of matching and surpassing last term’s goal tally in a Red Devils side which should make him plenty of chances.

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