Max Allegri: Prophetic.
“Cristiano worked well and I think tomorrow he will break his duck. I expect nothing more or less than what he did in the first three games, but I believe tomorrow he’ll find the back of the net and break the ice.”
Those are the words that Allegri issued out during his pre-match press conference on Saturday. Sure, there were words about who’s going to start and what he thinks about the new season to date. But when you say anything about Cristiano Ronaldo, especially about how hasn’t scored a goal with Juventus yet, that’s going to be what people latch on to.
And yet, Max was right on the money.
Ronaldo has broken through and gotten on the scoresheet as a Juventus player. It took three games — OH MY GOD THREE WHOLE GAMES! — for him to do so. Ronaldo’s second-half brace powered Juventus to their fourth straight win to open the season, 2-1 over Sassuolo that even Douglas Costa’s late-game elbow, headbutt and spitting session couldn’t even cancel out.
Just like that, Ronaldo is tied for the team lead in goals.
Also, just like that, Douglas Costa went from having a great impact off the bench to looking at probably the next handful of games up in the stands due to suspension.
At least he’ll have more time for Fortnite, right?
This game should be about Ronaldo because he is the one who lit Allianz Stadium on fire with his first goal. Ronaldo that sent the atmosphere through the freaking roof when he quickly made it 2-0 on what was just an absolutely fantastic counterattack that left Sami Khedira in the dust. (Sorry, Sami.)
This was the game that every single one of those fans in that stadium were waiting for. This is what just about every Juventus fans waited a little over 3 1⁄2 games worth of minutes to see. Two goals against Sassuolo won’t be the thing that defines Ronaldo’s career with Juventus, nor should we think that it should. But knowing that you could tell that both Ronaldo himself and Ronaldo’s teammates wanted to get him a goal as much as anybody out there, now we can see where this thing goes from here.
That’s the biggest thing a lot of us want to see. Now that Ronaldo has gotten his first Juventus goal(s), what does this mean for the next, oh, couple of months worth of games? It’s pretty convenient that all of this “RONALDO HASN’T SCORED A GOAL WITH JUVENTUS!!” talk ends as they head into their Champions League group stage opener in a couple of days. And for all we know, this is the start of the Ronaldo goal-scoring floodgates opening up and it’s full steam ahead from here on out.
As I said on Twitter: So this is what it’s like to be on the good side of Cristiano Ronaldo goals.
It feels good, man. Feels pretty good.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Maybe something not-very-nice was said to Douglas Costa. I don’t know, and who knows if we will ever know. But, man, you don’t do that stuff, man. None of it.
- I’m still thinking of that counterattack that got Ronaldo his second goal. So, so fast.
- This is the game where Beppe Marotta leaned back in his chair next to Andrea Agnelli and Pavel Nedved and told them something like “Yep, that’s why we paid €40 million on Joao Cancelo, guys.” This was easily Cancelo’s best game as a Juventus player — and it was because it was a complete effort, too. Offense, defense, all of it. That’s the kind of Cancelo that Juventus hoped they were going to get, and that’s the kind of Cancelo that Juventus are going to need more often than not.
- Juventus’ leader in tackles against Sassuolo? Joao Cancelo.
- Four league games in and Juventus has just one clean sheet. That’s not the Juve I know.
- Blaise Matuidi led Juventus with three key passes in the game. BLAISE MATUIDI.
- Paulo Dybala looks exactly like the kind of player that he is right now — somebody who hasn’t played much and is struggling with both form and confidence. He took all of one shot, faded as the game went on and really didn’t do much of anything of note in the second half. I want to see Paulo succeed so much, but not producing when he’s given the chance isn’t exactly going to help his case for more playing time. (Although Douglas Costa getting suspended might...)
- You’ve got three spots in attack for the trip to Valencia on Wednesday night. Federico Bernardeschi was rested. Juan Cuadrado was only a second-half sub. Who’s going to be the odd guy(s) out? I wouldn’t be surprised if Dybala is one of them.
- Emre Can was solid, if not unspectacular in his first Juventus start. I definitely want to see more of him playing from the get-go in the coming weeks. Maybe not in a midfield that also involves two not-so-creative players, but you probably figured that out by now.
- Right before Ronaldo scored his first goal, Mario Mandzukic had that classic kind of sarcastic Mandzukic smile that basically sums up the game perfectly. God bless you, Mario.