Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Ronaldo scores first competitive goal for Juventus in pre-season friendly

Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Cary Erickson | 12 August, 2018, 23:30

Villar Perosa is the fiefdom of the powerful Agnelli family, the founders of Fiat and the clout behind Juve, who bought their family estate there - nicknamed "The Castle" - in the mid-19th century and established the annual pre-season friendly in the town.

After being given an extended break due to his exploits at the World Cup, Juventus fans were able to witness the first glimpse of the 33-year-old in action wearing the famous black and white strip.

You can't help but be excited at Ronaldo's arrival in the Italian capital.

The town's bars and restaurants were heaving with fans and media hours before the match's 1700 (1500 GMT kick off), with fans in replica kits wrapped in scarves and flags arriving to see the five-times Ballon d'Or victor take part in one of Italian football's most curious traditions.

That could mean Ronaldo gets even more up close and personal with Juve fans.

Admittedly, no one bothered to defend.

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The Armenian worldwide will likely get a start today as Unai Emery will need his players to feed Aubameyang crosses in the match. He'll be joining a strong attacking force that already includes the likes of Kevin De Bruyne , Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero .

The friendly, which takes place annually, represented Juventus' final test before they kick-off their Serie A title defence against Chievo next Saturday.

New signing Emre Can also starts in midfield, with Leonardo Bonucci returning at centre-back after his brief spell at Milan.

His domestic form - despite scoring 26 goals in La Liga - was below the nearly superhuman levels that had characterised his time in Spain as Madrid finished third behind local rivals Atletico and a whole 17 points behind champions Barcelona.

"In the Champions League against Juve, a quarter-final, you score a goal and see everyone in the stadium applaud you". July visits to the club museum shot up 15 percent compared to previous year, and were almost a third more than in 2016, and the over 29,000 season tickets available to fans have been sold despite a deeply unpopular 30 percent price bump announced before Ronaldo's arrival.

Ronaldo ended his nine-year stay in Madrid this summer after a historically dominant period at the club.