Juventus icon Gianluigi Buffon has said that the Bianconeri “lost the DNA of being a team” with Cristiano Ronaldo at the club.
Ronaldo was hugely successful on an individual level in Turin. He spent three years at the club after Fabio Paratici orchestrated his £100m arrival in 2018 and would go on to score 101 times in 134 appearances, helping Juve to their eighth and ninth consecutive Scudetti in the process.
Ronaldo became the fastest Juventus player ever to reach 100 goals in Bianconeri colours as he claimed Serie A’s Capocannoniere in his final season at the club (2020/21). However, the Portuguese great failed to thrust Juve to their ultimate goal: the Champions League.
The Old Lady succumbed to a trio of embarrassing European exits while Ronaldo was in Turin, and he departed stunningly ahead of the latest summer transfer deadline, reuniting with Manchester United.
Gianluigi Buffon believes Juventus lost their DNA while Cristiano Ronaldo was at the club
Life after Ronaldo has proved tough for Massimiliano Allegri and Juventus this season. While they struggled under Andrea Pirlo last time out, their woes have deepened in 2021/22. Although, a strong end to the calendar year has them in a good position to push on in the new year, where they’ll face Villarreal in the Champions League round of 16.
Despite their current struggles, several Juventus veterans have spoken out on Ronaldo’s time at the club, suggesting that the all-time great forward held them back in some aspects.
Buffon, who now plays for Parma, was the latest to have his say.
“Juventus had the chance to win the Champions League the first year he arrived, which was the year I was at Paris Saint-Germain, and I couldn’t figure out what happened,” the legendary Italian told TUDN.com.
“When I returned, I worked with CR7 for two years and we did well together, but I think Juventus lost that DNA of being a team.
“We reached the Champions League final in 2017 because we were a side full of experience, but above all, we were a single unit and there was this competition for places within the group that was very strong. We lost that with Ronaldo,” he concluded.
Leonardo Bonucci & Giorgio Chiellini’s Ronaldo comments
Previously, Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has said that his side were playing “more as a team” in Ronaldo’s absence.
“We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your teammate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that,” he said.
Giorgio Chiellini, meanwhile, criticised the late departure of Ronaldo in the summer, but he added that his exit was perhaps necessary for Juventus to move forward.
“A rejuvenation restart programme grew here at Juventus. If Ronaldo had stayed, it would have been an added value and we would have gladly exploited it, but he might be thinking more about the present than the future.
“He left on August 28th, it would have been better for us if he had left earlier. It’s something we paid for, there’s a little shock in it for you and in my opinion, we paid for it in terms of points.
“Had he gone away on August 1st, we would have had time to prepare better,” speculated the grinta-obsessed Chiellini to DAZN (via Football365).
Juventus endured a historically poor start to the Serie A season but, as we noted, they recovered ahead of the winter break to leave them well poised in the table heading into 2022.