I’d probably have had a relatively sarcasm, somewhat deviant-looking laugh if I were Cristiano Ronaldo immediately after Mario Mandzukic scored Juventus’ second goal on Saturday. It’s just been that kind of start to his Juve career for Ronaldo.
It hasn’t been bad by any means.
But when you see “CRISTIANO RONALDO” and “NO GOALS” being used in the same sentence, then it’s going to cause some folks to freak the hell no matter the sample size, no matter the opposition and no matter the fact that Juventus are TWO GAMES INTO THE SEASON.
14 shots, 0 goals so far for Cristiano Ronaldo. pic.twitter.com/rRAhFfygwl— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 25, 2018
Welcome to the new normal for Juventus, one that involves the microscope being on Ronaldo-related things more than ever before. You sign a player like Ronaldo when he’s scoring goals galore and still the best in the world at age 33 and this is the attention that suddenly gets brought to your club.
I just wanna throw this out there, though: Ronaldo, in his ninth season at Real Madrid last year, had five different occasions where he went without a goal in back-to-back starts.
See? It’s possible. It happens. As hard as it might believe knowing what kind of player he is, Ronaldo not scoring in two consecutive starts is not some newfound phenomena or anything like that.
It certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong here.
The fact that people are overanalyzing all of this “Ronaldo hasn’t scored in his first two Juventus games” storyline is relatively comical. We’re not sitting here looking at Ronaldo’s game log and seeing him laying a couple of duds. He has been good, not great, but the only thing that eludes him thus far has been the chance to jump in the air, fire his arms above his head and then towards the ground as he prepares to land as he does after virtually every goal the last few years.
In two games, he’s recorded 15 shots, according to WhoScored. FIFTEEN! That’s nine against Chievo, another six this past weekend against Lazio. He’s creating chances — some better than others, obviously, but he’s been as involved as any Juventus attacker thus far.
In two games, against lesser performances by opposing goalkeepers, Ronaldo would have had at least one goal and probably more. If Thomas Strakosha doesn’t get a touch on the ball after Joao Cancelo’s beautiful cross in from the right wing, then Ronaldo is easily tapping the ball into the back of the net instead of getting credited with an assist for Mario Mandzukic’s second-half goal over the weekend.
The goals will come, and there’s no denying that. Saying Ronaldo will score is like saying Gigi Buffon will make a handful of game-changing saves or Claudio Marchisio will wake up in the morning and be handsome as hell. Those are just the facts of life.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m more than happy to see Ronaldo not score goals in a few games in late-August and possibly early-September if it means that the months of March, April, May and the first day of June are filled with them.
That’s why Juventus signed him, right? For there to be lofty European objectives be achieved?
Maybe there were a lot of us who thought that a player of Ronaldo’s caliber would stroll in and only need a few shots before he started his first steps toward claiming the capocannoniere crown. But even for somebody as great as Ronaldo is, there’s going to be an adjustment period to a new league, new team and new tactics. (Same goes for Max Allegri’s side of the equation working with Ronaldo, too, by the way.) His “dry spell” could end this weekend against Parma or maybe when Juve comes out of the international break.
Either way, Cristiano Ronaldo will be fine. Juventus will be fine. This marriage of Italy’s most historic club and one of the best goal scorers to ever play this game will be fine.
We’re two games into a three-year contract. Juve have won both of those games, by the way, so even as we wait for Ronaldo to celebrate his first goal in a competitive game, it’s not like we’re sitting here stressing about them already dropping points.