The last 30 hours or so have been pretty much the opposite of a low-key lead-in to what is certainly about as highly anticipated of a season opener as Juventus have had in quite a long time. There was supposed to be no drama on the final day of the Serie A summer transfer window or anything close to it. It was supposed to be quiet, with Juve’s major business dealings done weeks ago and our only concern was what Max Allegri’s starting lineup was going to look like.
Then, just before 10 a.m. in Italy, Claudio Marchisio was no longer a Juventus player.
The Marchisio exit still stings as Juventus faces Chievo in this evening’s 2018-19 Serie A season opener. But, there is a debut that everybody has been waiting for — that of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, the player that has been brought in to try and bring the seven-time defending Italian champions to the kind of heights they haven’t gotten to in decades.
The Bentegodi isn’t the glamorous place for as publicized of a debut as Juventus has seen in quite some time. Ronaldo, at 33 years of age, is still at the peak of his powers, a player that has evolved as he’s gotten older and become an even more ruthless finisher in front of goal than he has before turning 30.
This day is going to be all about Ronaldo, and understandably so.
This day will also be about a new Juventus, one that has Ronaldo on its roster, Marchisio no longer on its roster and Giorgio Chiellini as its captain while patrolling the center of his team’s defense alongside the recently-returned Leonardo Bonucci.
This summer has been one that has seen things take place that we never thought would happen — from Ronaldo coming to Turin, Bonucci coming back to Turin and Marchisio leaving a club that he’d spent 25 years at. Nobody could have predicted much of anything that took place outside of maybe Stefano Sturaro rolling out of town on some kind of transfer and Mario Mandzukic being grumpy upon taking pictures with some of his friends.
Welcome to the New Juventus. It kinda looks like the Old Juventus with some familiar names, but other familiar faces have gone elsewhere. There are new players to watch, new names to root for.
Round 1 of 38 is here. Now go out and win 8-0 or else Juventus Twitter will be burning ish down.
When: Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018
Where: Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy
Official kickoff time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12 p.m. on the East Coast; 9 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Douglas Costa; Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Perin, Pinsoglio, Benatia, Matuidi, Barzagli, Mandzukic, Emre Can, Rugani, Bentancur, Bernardeschi
Chievo starting XI (4-3-3): Sorrentino; Cacciatore, Bani, Rossettini, Tomovic; Hetemaj, Radovanovic, Rigoni; Giaccherini, Depaoli, Stepinski
HOW TO WATCH
Television: Rai Italia America (United States); RAI Italia America (Canada); Eleven Sports 1 UK (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.
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