- Cristiano Ronaldo’s dream of winning the Champions League in his debut Juventus season is in disarray.
- Juventus was completely humbled at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of its Round of 16 clash on Wednesday, as it was beaten 2-0 on the night.
- Ronaldo, who is normally devastating against Atletico, failed to score and the team has it all to do in the return leg in March.
- Nobody took the defeat as badly as Ronaldo, who stormed through the mixed zone after the match bragging about how he’s been a champion before, while Atletico has won nothing.
- Read all of Business Insider’s coverage for the 2018-2019 soccer season right here.
Juventus had one thing in mind when it spent $130 million on Cristiano Ronaldo last summer – win the UEFA Champions League.
As a five-time winner of the competition, Ronaldo will have wanted the same thing but that dream is now in disarray as Juventus got humbled 2-0 in the first leg of its Round of 16 Champions League clash at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
Ronaldo himself did not play poorly. According to Whoscored.com data, he was the best Juventus player on the pitch with a 7.4 grading thanks to a 95% pass completion rate, two key chances provided, and seven shots attempted on goal.
One of those shots could have resulted in a goal of the season screamer had it not been for a stunning, jaw-dropping save from the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Watch it right here:
Ronaldo got ALL of this free kick ???? what a save ????
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) February 20, 2019
That was in the eighth minute, when the game was precariously poised 0-0. Had it gone in, the night may well have been one for the Italian team to celebrate.
However, Atletico had its own dream – and the center back pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez realized it as the Uruguayan defenders grabbed a goal each to secure a solid 2-0 win for the Spanish side.
Nobody reacted to the defeat quite like Ronaldo, who was booed, jeered, and whistled at by the partisan Atletico fans in the crowd. He responded by holding up his hand and gesturing with each finger as a reminder that he had won the Champions League five times.
Even after the final whistle, he reiterated the same point in front of the media in the mixed zone.
According to beIN SPORTS, Ronaldo rushed through the press area without stopping, but did manage to tell anyone who was listening that he had been a champion before. “I won five Champions Leagues and these guys zero,” he said, making the same gesture as he had on the pitch, before disappearing.
???? El mensaje de @Cristiano al abandonar el Metropolitano:
— GOL (@Gol) February 20, 2019
Even in defeat, you can never count Ronaldo out
Even at 34 years old, Ronaldo remains a fierce competitor and an elite goalscorer.
This season alone, in his debut Juventus campaign, he has scored 21 goals and provided 10 assists in all competitions. That’s a striking efficiency of a goal scored or created once for every 81 minutes he plays.
Against Atletico, he – along with the rest of the Juventus team – was rendered impotent against a side renowned for its defensive quality.
With a rigid defensive line and Oblak protecting Atletico’s goal, the Madrid team has an ever-reliable rearguard. Oblak alone has been responsible for 23 clean sheets from 41 Champions League games.
YOU SHALL NOT PASS ⛔️
Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak has now kept a clean sheet in 56% of his Champions League games ???? pic.twitter.com/xBQzrTlxrn
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 20, 2019
But reputation means little to Ronaldo as, aside from Wednesday night, the Portuguese man has an exceptional goal-scoring record against them.
In 32 games now he has scored 22 times and provided a further eight assists. This means that regardless of the recent defeat, he – and by extension Juve – can never truly be counted out no matter how hard a task they have given themselves at restoring parity, or even winning, in the second leg of the fixture.
Juventus welcomes Atletico to Turin in Italy on March 12. The winner proceeds to the quarter-final.