Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has echoed team-mate Leonardo Bonucci’s veiled remarks about the impact the Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo had on the Italian giants
Giorgio Chiellini has followed his Juventus team-mate Leonardo Bonucci in taking a swipe at their former colleague Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old has claimed that the Manchester United superstar needs a team that ‘plays for him,’ with Bonucci recently claiming his presence somewhat harmed the Bianconeri.
Ronaldo spent three years in Turin and racked up 101 goals in 134 games, winning two Serie A titles but failing to deliver the Champions League which has eluded Juve in the modern era.
Speaking to DAZN , Chiellini made his thoughts the five-time Ballon d’Or winner clear after he returned to Old Trafford late in the summer transfer window and Juventus faltered at the start of the season.
“I had already figured out he could leave this summer, because we reached a stage of the working relationship where Cristiano needed new motivation and a team that would play for him,” the defensive stalwart explained.
“When he finds a team like that, he can always be decisive, as he was at Juve too.
“Juventus are beginning a process of renewal and trying to bring the average age down, so clearly he would’ve been an added bonus if he’d stayed, but it’s fair he wanted a team more focused on the present than the future.”
Chiellini has also noted that, despite the re-signing of Moise Kean from Everton, Ronaldo leaving earlier would have given Massimiliano Allegri’s side more time to snap up a replacement.
“Ronaldo left on August 28 and it certainly would’ve been better if he had gone earlier so we could prepare,” he admitted.
“Unfortunately, we paid a price for that.
“It does create a shock to the system and we lost points in the opening games because of that.
“If he’d left on August 1, then we would’ve had time to reorganise and be ready for the start of the season.”
Bonucci, who is Chiellini’s centre-back parter for both club and country, recently gave his verdict on Ronaldo leaving and challenged the Bianconeri to find the pre-CR7 spirit that saw them win seven successive Serie A titles and reach two Champions League finals.
Will Juventus be better off without Ronaldo? Give us your verdict here.
“Ronaldo made a choice that we respected,” Bonucci, who alongside Chiellini helped Italy to win Euro 2020 this summer, stated.
“Last year the team played for him, now the group must rediscover that Juve spirit that was there before his arrival.”
Speaking to The Athletic ahead of Juve’s clash with Chelsea, Bonucci also explained: “This was the thing, the idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory.
“Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us. Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.
“We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your team-mate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that.”
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