Like a lot of folks, one of the first things you do after you shake the cobwebs out of your head and clear up your eyes in the morning is check your cell phone notifications. As I arose from my evening’s slumber on Tuesday, there was a message from my good buddy Jorid, a name that will sound familiar to the faithful readers of years past around here.
The message read: “DANIEL”
The next message read: “STARTED FROM DI NATALE REJECTIONS 7 YEARS AGO NOW WE HERE”
This was his way of telling me that Cristiano Ronaldo joining forces with Juventus had just became official. (And, in turn, I had to shake off the fuzzies out of my eyes and put together an OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL post because I was already falling behind.)
As of this post going live, we are a little more than 24 hours removed from Ronaldo-to-Juventus actually happening. Some probably still can’t believe, others already working over all of the possibilities of starting lineups that have Ronaldo playing alongside Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa and others.
It’s not just talking about all the potential starting lineups Max Allegri will be able to use next season, though. As most of the team goes further on with its first week of preseason training, not only do we await Ronaldo Day in Turin but also any kind of remaining roster fluidity and transactions that many are anticipating because of the kind of money Juve just dished out and took on.
Let’s take a crack at a couple of them.
Praying for Juve’s online store serves
It’s timed out. It’s loaded slow as all hell. It’s taken you much, much longer than you probably thought to even get a sniff of trying to buy Ronaldo’s new No. 7 jersey.
(For the record, the BWRAO servers survived Ronaldo Signing Day just fine.)
Resolving the Alex Sandro situation — for good or bad
OK, so on a much more serious note, we have one of the names that has been linked with an exit almost immediately after the Ronaldo signing was announced.
Or, you know, a name that has been rumored to possibly leaving for the better part of the past 14 months or so.
Sandro seems to be in between two very important career decisions. He could either sign a contract extension with Juventus, something that has been floated out there as a possibility for months now. Or, as was the case last summer when teams like Chelsea reportedly came calling, the chance to ask to leave is very much a possibility as well.
For all we know, Sandro is happy in Turin and the arrival of Ronaldo will be the thing that is the final push to get a contract extension signed. He’s been flashing a smile whenever he’s been pictured during Juve’s first couple of preseason training sessions, so obviously that’s all we need to know about the situation, right? RIGHT?
Resolving the Daniele Rugani situation — for good or bad
I don’t want Juventus to sell Rugani this summer. I don’t want them to sell Rugani next summer or the next 10 summers after that. I get that Rugani may not be the all-world defender he was thought to be when he came back from his loan spell on Empoli a few years back, but that doesn’t even come close to meaning that he’s not of use to this squad.
If there’s one area of the field that will be in some kind of transition from older players to younger players in the next few seasons, it’s in defense. Rugani is already here, Mattia Caldara’s potential has people licking their chops and Juve’s new right back, Joao Cancelo, just celebrated his 24th birthday a couple of months ago.
But, unlike in previous transfer windows when Rugani was linked with a move away from Juventus and we could just kinda laugh it off, this just seems different. That’s mostly due to what Rugani’s agent has said about Chelsea’s pursuit of Maurizio Sarri. (Antonio Conte is still technically Chelsea’s manager, he’s conducting preseason training sessions, yet everybody pretty much knows he’s getting fired whenever they hire somebody else this summer.)
Of course, if you’re going to sell a center back that’s currently on the Juventus roster, I’d lean toward Medhi Benatia so that Juve don’t lose one of their best young assets.
But, with Sarri maybe-or-maybe-not signing with Chelsea soon, the Rugani rumors are going to be ever-present whether we are annoyed by them are just completely despise them with every bone in your body.
Resolving the Gonzalo Higuain situation — for good or bad
Out of all the players on the Juventus roster not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Paulo Dybala, there might not be a player who would demand a transfer fee as high as Higuain’s would likely be. And because of that, it’s why he’s been rumored to be on the way out this summer.
Higuain has stated in recent weeks that he would like to play in England before his career is over. But he’s also said that he’s happy in Turin.
But, like the Rugani situation, there’s somebody in Sarri that he has had some of his best seasons that could very well be named Chelsea’s new manager soon. (Or not.)
Ronaldo’s arrival is obviously a huge boost to Juve’s squad. But it also makes thing just that much more crowded up front. It already seems like a foregone conclusion that Marko Pjaca will be heading somewhere else this summer, but that still leaves a lot of talented players vying for a certain number of starting spots.
And knowing that Higuain is now on the other side of 30 and not exactly sporting 16 abs like Ronaldo has been when he hit his 30s, Juventus may well view this summer as the final chance to truly get a big-time transfer fee for Pipa.
We continue to dream of a Champions League trophy
Juventus just signed one of the best goal scorers the Champions League has ever seen. Or, after reading the tweet below, we can consider him the best. /insert G.O.A.T. argument here/
120 - Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time top-scorer in the Champions League (120 goals). Reality. pic.twitter.com/SZZ3Oksy0c— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) July 11, 2018
ONE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY GOALS. That’s just ... holy crap, you guys.
This Juventus roster isn’t close to being a finished product. There will be sales, maybe a couple more additions in low-cost, low-risk type of moves that Beppe Marotta seems to really enjoy. But one thing that we know is that Ronaldo and all of his European goals, exploits and general excellence are now going to be wearing a Juventus jersey.
Expectations just got raised a level or two. That’s probably being a little conservative, too.