HOW CRISTIANO RONALDO HAS INSPIRED CHANGE AT EVERY LEVEL SINCE ARRIVING AT JUVENTUS
In Italy however, it is the usual story. Juventus – Serie A winners in each of the previous seven seasons – are already six points clear of everyone else, with their goal difference +8 over their closest rival even at this early juncture. Having also won both their Champions League outings thus far, the Old Lady has launched into 2018/19 by somehow setting a new all-time mark by claiming victory in her first ten competitive games.
To have been so dominant in recent years yet still be setting records is testament to the work the Bianconeri have done off the field, the influx of talent a credit to departing CEO Beppe Marotta and his staff. It also owes much to the tactical acumen of Max Allegri when his side take to the pitch, the Coach constantly altering his approach with a demand for flexibility and adaptability that ensures his players never become complacent or lose focus.
Yet there is something different this term too, a swagger that was previously absent. It was not there in the first few games of this season either, but in the past few weeks there has been an undeniable shift in mentality. Among the factors many would seek to credit are a better balance in a midfield where Sami Khedira has been replaced by younger, faster player like Emre Can or Rodrigo Bentancur, as well as the momentum gained from piling up victories in those early outings.
But in truth, the team – which had been notoriously slow out of the gate in Allegri’s first four seasons at the helm – has been pushed to new heights by Cristiano Ronaldo. It might appear simplistic or obvious to say that breaking the club’s transfer record to add one of the best players in the world has made a difference, but the arrival of the Portuguese star is not only one man making a difference. Instead, every aspect of Juve’s attacking play has been sharpened since the completion of the €112 million deal.
Where previous incarnations of the Bianconeri have eased up after taking a comfortable lead, this version – much like Ronaldo – is always on the hunt for more goals, to the point that even Allegri has been angrily pushing them to play better.