Many in Turin were disappointed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Juventus.
After three years with the Bianconeri, the Portuguese star left the Italian side and returned to Manchester United.
He helped them win two more Serie A titles during that time, but their most cherished prize, the Champions League, which he was eventually signed to win, escaped them.
In Ronaldo’s final year, Juventus’ Italian domestic domination came to an end, and the 37-year-old received a lot of criticism.
Juventus’ ability to invest elsewhere had been limited by his exorbitant salary, and they are now in transition with Max Allegri at the helm.
His astronomical wages had hampered Juventus’ ability to invest elsewhere and, with Max Allegri back at the helm, they are now in the midst of transition.
Cristiano Ronaldo won every award in Italy during his three-year career and scored 101 goals.
However, there has been a view that the forward’s quest of individual honours and awards, as in Manchester and Real Madrid, has occasionally been counterproductive.
A team game
That is something Allegri seems to have hinted at this season. The Italian worked with Ronaldo for one year before departing in 2019.
Now, back in the role, his Juventus side have no obvious star player.
Paulo Dybala is the club’s leading scorer whilst they recently added Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria in the January window.
In the remaining months of the season, Juventus hopes to catch both Milan clubs and Napoli, but their coach is sure that the squad is more focused on the collective than it has been previously, which appears to be a shot at Ronaldo.
Allegri told reporters previously: “I think that personal targets have been put aside and there is more focus on the team.
“We have been together for six or seven months now. We are knowing each other a little more, we feel more like a team.”
Any club that concedes more than 30 goals a year is going to feel that absence, however – and Juventus are no different.
Dybala has notched 12 times this term with no other player yet hitting double figures.
That was undoubtedly a driving force behind Juventus’ decision to pursue Vlahovic, who had been linked with Arsenal for much of January.
Matthijs de Ligt, who moved to Italy in the same summer as Ronaldo, has praised the newcomer, acknowledging that they were missing a prolific marksman after Ronaldo’s quick departure.
He said: “We lost Cristiano Ronaldo late in the summer and of course, we lost 30 goals with that. Because it was so late, we couldn’t get someone like Dusan Vlahovic back right away. We certainly missed that in the beginning.
“When I played against him [Vlahovic], I already noticed how strong and technically good he was.
“And what particularly appealed to me is that he is so driven to score a goal.
“He almost scolded teammates when he didn’t get the ball. You need an attacker like that up front.”
Lack of respect
The manner of Ronaldo’s exit, which came after just one Serie A game, angered many previous players.
Influence is not something the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has lacked over the past decade and his desire to leave became clear.
“He wants to leave Juventus and he made a choice, he’s going to look for a new club after three years here,” said Allegri.
“I’m not disappointed by Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s part of the life. Ronaldo told me yesterday that he wants to leave Juventus immediately.”
Links to Manchester City saw their neighbours United act quickly to seal the deal.
It meant there was no emotional farewell in Italy and that didn’t sit well with some former players.
“Juventus deserve more respect; I didn’t expect Ronaldo to snub the club like this. It was not nice of him,” Sergio Brio told Tuttosport.
“I always speak highly of the three clubs where I played: Juventus, Lecce and Pistoiese because they signed me and believed in me. Cristiano is a great professional, but his farewell should have been different.”