Tag Archives: Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo eclipses Pele’s career goal total

The Portuguese and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo made a terrific start to 2021 over the weekend by surpassing the legendary Pele’s career goal total with his two goals in ‘The Old Lady’s’ 4-1 win over Udinese.

Pele now subsequently sits third on the list after registering 757 career goals between 1956 and 1977 during his time with Santos, New York Cosmos and Brazil. 

Ronaldo scored his 757thand 758thgoal of his incredible career and now sits second on the all-time list behind only the Czech striker Josef Biscan’s total of 759.  In addition, the 35-year-old took his already impressive Serie A goal tally this season to 14 from only 11 matches.  

The Portuguese forward is currently leading the goalscoring charts and has played a crucial part in moving Andrea Pirlo’s side into fifth place where they are ten points behind leaders AC Milan with a game in hand. Udinese, however, drop to 13thand are without a win in their last four matches. 

The five-time Ballon d’Or Winner scored his side’s first goal of 2021 just half an hour into the encounter with one of his trademark strikes after latching onto former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s pass. He then set up Federico Chiesa for Juve’s second shortly after half time.  

Ronaldo then made it 3-0 after latching onto Rodrigo Bentancur’s through ball.  Udinese did manage to get a goal back throughMarvin Zeegelar, however, Argentine forward Paulo Dybala struck late on in injury time to secure Juventus’ 4-1 win.   

Following the match, the Juventus Manager Pirlo confessed that his team struggled, with the surprise 3-0 defeat to Fiorentina still playing on their minds in the final encounter before the winter break.  

Pirlo said:

“We started frightened after the match against Fiorentina.

“Little by little we grew up and in the second half we did better.  It wasn’t the best Juventus.” 

In total Ronaldo has managed 656 club career goals since making his debut for Sporting Lisbon back in 2002.  

The majority of his goals ultimately though came during his time with Real Madrid where he scored 450 goals in just 438 games. While playing for Manchester United, meanwhile, he still managed 118 goals in 292 appearances, but he is rapidly closing in on that total already for his current side Juventus, having scored 83 times to date. 

For his international side, Ronaldo currently has 102 goals in just 120 matches and the forward will likely add to that impressive tally as he will look to help Fernando Santos’s team to defend their European Championship this summer. 

Indeed, it is surely a matter of when and not if he will eclipse Biscan’s tally with the first opportunity being on Wednesday night when the Serie A Champions visit Milan.

What is your favourite Cristiano Ronaldo goal to date? Feel free to list it in the comments below…..

From Northern Italy to South Beach: Blaise Matuidi departs Juventus for Inter Miami

Through the first five games of the season, David Beckham-owned Inter Miami failed to register a single point. For a team with such high expectations, it did not look well and desperation started to kick in. The South Beach side promised to bring in big name players to the club, and they finally we are able to achieve it by landing Beckham’s former PSG teammate, midfielder Blaise Matuidi from Juventus.

The 33-year old has won every trophy imaginable for club and country. As a member of PSG, he was able to win four Ligue 1 titles, three Coupe de France’s, four Coupe de la Ligue’s, and five Trophée des Champions as he played an important role in the rise of the Parisians in world football. Meanwhile, for Juventus, he has won three Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia (2017-18) and a Supercoppa Italiana (2018). 

Representing the French national team, Matuidi was a member of the 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning side. He has not the only the only World Cup winner to take his talents to the MLS, which includes fellow Frenchman Thierry Henry (won the 1998 FIFA World Cup), who was a member of the New York Red Bulls and now the head coach of the Montreal Impact.

Fans of Inter Miami were nervous that the third and final Designated Player spot was being used for Matuidi, as they felt that the spot could have been better occupied. However, it was later revealed that The Herons signed him with Target Allocation Money, meaning it is a hefty pay cut from what he was earning over in Europe. Once Matuidi makes the move to South Beach, he will have to quarantine for 10 days.

Although there is no way for the Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale to be packed for Matuidi’s arrival due to the country’s ongoing issue with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a much anticipated move that was needed for the fans and the team who were desperate to find help in any way possible.

UEFA confirm Champions/Europa league and Euro 2020 fixture plans

The return of Europe’s top competitions have been discussed at length since domestic leagues confirmed their return plans. Today at last clubs and fans were given details as to how the knockout stages will be played out.

The club tournaments will be completed in August, with the Europa League being held in Germany and the Champions League being held in Portugal. These will take place from the Quarter final stage.

UEFA confirmed that the 12 original host cities will stage matches in next summer’s Euro 2020 finals. The competition will start on the 11th June 2021. The pushed-back play-off matches will be played during the international breaks starting on the 8th October and the 12th November, respectively.

The Champions League will restart with the second-leg matches of the last 16 games left over. These will be played on the 7th and 8th of August. The games yet to be played are: Manchester City at home against Real Madrid, Chelsea away to Bayern Munich, Juventus at home against Lyon and Napoli, who take their impressive 1-1 away result into their home leg, against Barcelona. UEFA said it has yet to decide whether to stage the games at home grounds or at neutral venues.

 

The subsequent knockout rounds will be played over one leg and will be hosted in the city of Lisbon, at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and the Estádio José Alvalade, between the 12th to the 23rd August. The final has been scheduled for 23 August, also taking place in Lisbon.

The Estádio do Dragão in Porto and the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimarães will also be added to the Lisbon venues for the Round of 16 should such measures be necessary.

The same applies to the Europa League which will resume the Quarter Finals on the 10th August. The remaining last 16 games will be played on the 5th and 6th of August. The venues will be stationed in Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen.

 

Istanbul and Gdansk, the original host cities for the Champions and Europa League finals respectively, will now stage next year’s finals in 2021.

UEFA stated:

“A decision will be made in due course on whether these matches for which the first leg has already been played will be staged at the home team’s venue or in Germany.

“Inter Milan v Getafe and Sevilla v Roma, whose first leg was also postponed, will be played as a single leg at a venue to be confirmed.”

The Women’s Champions League will also be a knockout tournament, in northern Spain between the 21st and 30th of August.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, said:

“I am delighted that we are able to resume almost all of our competitions. I am confident that we will not have to endure the fans’ absence for long and that they will be allowed into stadiums sooner rather than later.”

With many Women’s leagues not returning he was also keen to comment on the return on the Women’s Champions League:

“Particularly with the Women’s Champions League, it was important to send a strong signal that it is possible to complete this season, in a time where women’s sports have suffered substantially. This competition has exciting times ahead with the format change in 2021/2022 and we want to enhance the momentum in the women’s game, not lose it.”

Overall, with the return of the Premier League soon this is even more positive news for fans, so mark the dates in your calendar, the season is beginning to hot up again!

Napoli Reach Coppa Italia Final as Mertens Breaks Goal Scoring Record

Dries Mertens became Napoli’s all-time top scorer to ensure his side progressed to the Copa Italia Final at the expense of Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan.

They fell behind inside two minutes when Christian Eriksen’s corner evaded everyone and went in. Napoli’s Belgian international, however, made it 1-1 just before half-time.

That goal means Gennaro Gattuso’s team will be the ones to face Juventus in the final in Rome next Wednesday.

Inter made a blistering start to the game taking the lead in the first two minutes, which levelled the tie. An Eriksen corner went all the way through a disjointed looking Napoli defence and nestled in the bottom corner.

Antonio Candreva then had a brilliant chance to put Inter ahead in the tie. He bared down on the right side of goal and had three options in the box to pull the ball back to, however, he chose to shoot instead.  Candreva’s shot was saved and it subsequently went out for a corner, which was eventually gathered by Napoli’s goalkeeper David Ospina.

Ospina then unleashed a remarkable throw to Insigne inside the Inter half, who drove into the box and pulled the ball back to Mertens who calmly slotted home. That goal makes Mertens Napoli’s all-time top scorer with 122 goals, overtaking former club captain, Marek Hamsik’s tally.

Conte’s Inter knew that one goal would see them progress on the away goals rule but in a second half that lacked many clear cut openings, their best chance fell to Eriksen.  The former Spurs midfielder latched onto a cross from the left but could only fire his low shot at Ospina.

A series of good crosses came in from the left-hand side, but the lacklustre Romelu Lukaku failed to steer any of his headers past Ospina. Fellow former Manchester United man Alexis Sanchez came on and looked lively, flashing a shot wide late in the game.

Ultimately, the seven times winners of the Coppa Italia ran out of steam and Napoli were able to see the game out with relative ease.

Juventus Reach the Coppa Italia Final Despite Ronaldo Penalty Miss

Italian football returned as an underwhelming Juventus side edged into the Coppa Italia final with a 0-0 draw against an AC Milan side who played with 10 men for 75 minutes.

The aggregate score was 1-1, but the away goal that Juve picked up at the San Siro before the extended break due to Covid 19 was enough to see them through. The most notable acts of the game were a missed penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo and a red card for Ante Rebic.

Juve made a very high tempo start to the game, with Douglas Costa flashing a shot just wide of the post in the first minute. Bedlam, however, unfolded 15 minutes later.  Juve were given a penalty following a VAR check for a very soft handball by right back Andrea Conti. Ronaldo stepped up and drilled the penalty into the base of the left-hand post.

Only six seconds later, however, Rebic was sent off after he lunged with his studs showing at head height, and Danilo was very lucky to get away unscathed. Referee Daniele Orsato initially brandished a yellow card, but immediately changed his mind and gave the Croatian his marching orders. The challenge was reminiscent of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic kung-fu-style finish. The Swede missed this fixture through injury.

That meant Milan had to score without reply to reach the final in Rome. The stage looked set for the Bianconeri, who have won the Coppa Italia 13 times, to flex their muscles and put Milan to the sword. Instead, they looked extremely passive, and failed to create many clear-cut chances at all.

Milan were very impressive considering their numerical disadvantage. They defended resolutely, with Simon Kjaer standing out at centre back as a key performer. They lacked the cutting edge going forward though. There was a host of long-range shots, giving the impression that the forwards were trying to win corners via deflections. It was from a corner that the Rossoneri came closest to snatching victory. Kjaer flashed a header just wide of the near post after 78 minutes, and his facial expression suggested he should have scored.

Another impressive performer for Milan was Franck Kessie, who was very busy in the midfield and kept Miralem Pjanic out the game completely. Interestingly, Pjanic was moved out to the right of the midfield three, with Rodrigo Bentancur taking his place in the middle. This may be significant considering how often the Bosnian midfielder is being linked with a move away from Turin.

One major disappointment for Milan is that the winners of the Coppa Italia achieves a place in the group stage of next season’s Europa League. While they are in 7th position in Serie A, European qualification is certainly not guaranteed for Stefano Pioli’s men.

Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus will play either Napoli or Inter Milan in the final, which takes place on the 17th June. The second leg of that tie takes place on Saturday at 20:00 BST. Napoli took a valuable 1-0 win at the San Siro in the first leg and will be looking to seal the deal at the San Paolo.