Has “Project Ronaldo” at Juventus been a failure following their successive exits against Ajax, Lyon and now Porto in the UCL.
After months of negotiations with Real Madrid to sign a new contract with a higher wage, Cristiano Ronaldo took the next step in his career by signing a four-year contract with Juventus in the summer of 2018. Since then, much has been said about Ronaldo’s move to Italy and recently the topic about the entire project being a failure has risen following Juventus’s woeful exit from the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
The topic going around now is whether ” Project Ronaldo” has been a failure or not. Many experts have weighed in with their opinion and a common statement that has been made is that Juventus have performed far worse in Europe’s elite stage with Ronaldo than they once did before the arrival of the 100 million euro transfer.
The very reason why Juve signed the former Real Madrid talisman in 2018 was to end their drought in Europe as the Bianconeri have failed to lift the coveted trophy since their last championship in 1996. However, the arrival of Ronaldo has not changed their fortune as of yet in Europe’s elite competition.
It is true that the Old Lady of Turin have underperformed in the Champions League since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and have now been knocked out by sides such as Ajax, Lyon and Porto who were deemed as underdogs in the tournament. So has “Project Ronaldo” been a failure? Yes, it has been a failure but who is to blame?
To single out Cristiano Ronaldo as the reason behind Juventus’s failures in the Champions League would be far too foolish. The 36-year-old has done everything in his might to help Juve progress in the knockout stages barring this season’s campaign. In his first two season’s, Ronaldo pulled off an unthinkable comeback against Atletico Madrid by scoring a hattrick and then went on to score two goals against Ajax in the quarter-finals. However, the Bianconeri were still sent crashing out. Even again Lyon last season, the Portuguese scored two goals at home to turn around the tie but a questionable penalty that was tucked away by Memphis Depay saw the hosts crash out yet again.
In terms of individual brilliance, Cristiano Ronaldo has performed when it mattered, however, the team as a unit overall have faltered on several levels. Project Ronaldo’s main objective was to build a team around the player, however, the board has somehow done the exact opposite. Currently, it seems like the entire team is reliant on the number 7 to bail them out.
In Serie A this season, the 36-year-old has scored 23 league goals and the second-highest scorer is Alvaro Morata with just a mere seven goals to his name. This by itself proves how heavily reliant Juventus are on one man to perform. Another statistic that goes on to prove the same, is that before the Porto knockout tie, Juventus had scored seven knockout goals in the Champions League since the 2018/19 season. All the seven goals were from Cristiano Ronaldo itself.
Having said that, the Bianconeri board have made ample mistakes on their end while conducting Project Ronaldo. From signing mostly free agents who were not wanted at their previous clubs to selling talented players such as Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Spinazzola and then appointing a manager like Andrea Pirlo who had not even received his UEFA A license coach before taking over the helm at the Allianz Stadium.
In short, Project Ronaldo has been a failure for Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo. The main objective to win the UEFA Champions League has not yet been achieved. However, the Serie A could make amends over the summer by signing quality players to rebuild their side. Only a drastic change could see Juventus once again rise as Europe’s title contenders.