Serie A 2018-19: Can Champions League-chasing Juventus maintain domestic dominance?

Cristiano Ronaldo - croppedGetty Images

For Juventus, domestic dominance alone would no longer appear to be enough.

The Bianconeri’s stranglehold on Serie A continued in the last campaign as they lifted the Scudetto for a seventh successive season.

Yet on the continent, they remain the nearly men. It is 22 years since Juve last lifted the Champions League – they have been beaten in the final five times in the ensuing period – and the desire to end that wait has led to a transformation in the club’s transfer policy.

No player has won more Champions Leagues than Cristiano Ronaldo, who has done so on five occasions with Manchester United and Real Madrid. He will now strive for a sixth in Turin after Juve made the type of statement signing they are not typically associated with.

Statistically speaking, it does not represent a gamble. Even at 33, Ronaldo has shown no signs he is waning having last season scored a competition-leading 15 times in the Champions League, including three across two games as Madrid eliminated Juventus, while he registered another 26 goals in LaLiga.

His penchant for delivering on the grandest stage could be the difference between his new club falling just short and finally claiming Europe’s grandest prize again.

But Ronaldo brings more than just goals. He has been the centre of attention wherever he has gone and Juventus will surely need to adapt to a superstar so intent on scoring and winning above all else.

Massimiliano Allegri has coached big names like Paul Pogba, Gonzalo Higuain and Arturo Vidal before but none have the aura of Ronaldo. How Allegri handles the Portuguese, particularly when things are not going well, will be intriguing.

Given his age, Ronaldo is unlikely to be the centrepiece of this Juventus team for years to come too. Gareth Bale lived in Ronaldo’s shadow in Madrid and Paulo Dybala, a player on the cusp of the game’s upper echelons at 24, will have to get used to playing second fiddle too.

Ronaldo’s previous club have also provided evidence of how seeking continental glory can often come at the expense of trophies back home. Ronaldo won four Champions Leagues while with Madrid but only two LaLiga titles in his nine years with the club.

Roma, Inter and AC Milan have all made significant signings in the transfer window, while Napoli have a serial winner of their own in the dugout having hired Carlo Ancelotti. With Juventus’ title rivals looking stronger, they cannot afford to take their eye off the ball domestically.

Ronaldo was not the only stunning switch Juventus made in this window as they brought Leonardo Bonucci back just a year after he was jettisoned to Milan amid rumours of a spat with Allegri.

The possibility of old wounds reopening remains and Bonucci’s return also comes at the expense of Mattia Caldara, who, at 24, could give Milan a decade of solid service and leave Juve ruing the one that got away.

They are moves that suggest Juventus are all in on Champions League glory now. And, as ever when Ronaldo is involved, it will be fascinating to see how it pans out.

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