Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus could face season without Champions League football
Not since the Portuguese superstar played for his first club Sporting in 2002 has he been in the Europa League – then the UEFA Cup – but it now seems like a very real possibility.
Juventus’ 3-0 home defeat to AC Milan on Sunday left Andrea Pirlo’s side in fifth place in Serie A, one place outside the Champions League places, and counting now on the teams above to lose points in the last three games of the season.
Only three points separate Juventus in fifth and Atalanta in second, but the delicate Old Lady encounter features newly crowned champion Inter Milan and a dangerous and fit Sassuolo side.
Ronaldo and Co. have to win their last three games and hope that one of Napoli, AC Milan or Atalanta drops points along the way.
Pirlo has been widely criticized for Juventus’ form this season, which included a shock elimination against Porto in the Champions League round of 16 and a failure to win Serie A for the first time in 10 seasons.
This is the 41-year-old’s first management post after a long playing career, but many have questioned the decision to promote him from Juventus U23 squad after just nine days after Maurizio Sarri’s dismissal. as the head coach of the first team. .
“I knew we were going to have a hard time, but now we all have to get out of it together. There should always be pride in wearing this jersey and some performance doesn’t have to be there. I had a different project in mind, I tried to work according to certain principles, it was sometimes necessary to adapt, but I am convinced that I have an excellent team at my disposal.
“If something is wrong, I take responsibility for it.”
However, the season is not entirely over with the Coppa Italia final yet to play against Atalanta on May 19.
Ronaldo’s current contract runs until the end of next season, but it has been reported that the 36-year-old would like to return to Sporting. However, Juventus general manager Fabio Paratici insisted earlier this year that the club would “hang on to him”, despite his struggles on the pitch.