Cristiano Ronaldo, a caged lion
By Andrea Montolivo
Sports Desk, Jun 8 (EFE).- Following one of the toughest years of his career with an underperforming Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo heads to Euro 2020 looking to burst out of his cage and defend the title Portugal claimed at the last tournament in 2016.
So accustomed to being in the spotlight, Ronaldo had to settle for a more humble campaign this year as the defending Serie A champions only just managed to muster a fourth-place finish and were sent packing from the Champions League by Porto in the last-16.
It was a bitter moment for the Portugal forward, who for the first time in the last 15 years failed to score in the knockout stages of the competition.
It was the second consecutive year Juventus bowed out in the round-of-16 after their defeat to Lyon in 2019/20. The season before wasn’t much better either, when the Italian side were eliminated in the quarter-finals by a youthful Ajax team.
The Champions League all-time top goalscorer with 134 managed to bag just four this year, all in the group stages of the Uefa competition.
Juventus spent much of the Serie A season on the ropes, too, and only secured a spot in next year’s Champions League thanks to Napoli’s last-minute stumble against Hellas Verona.
Juve’s two pieces of silverware for the year, the domestic Italy Cup and Italian Super Cup, are not of sufficient grandeur to satiate Ronaldo’s desire to continue to make history at his relatively ripe 36 years of age.
Portugal’s so-called group of death in Euro 2020 will only motivate him further.
Flanked by top talent like Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, Atlético Madrid’s Joao Félix and Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, Ronaldo’s Portugal is braced for a testing group stage kicking off with Hungary on June 15 before Germany on June 19 and a powerful France team on June 23.