Can Cristiano Ronaldo return to his brilliant best when Juventus host Atletico Madrid?
This coming Tuesday, Juventus face off against Atletico Madrid for the second time this season in the penultimate game of both their UEFA Champions League group stages.
We can expect it to be a tight affair, however, Juventus can go into the match feeling more relaxed than Atletico Madrid as they have already qualified for the knockout stages. Los Rojiblancos, on the other hand, have not and although it seems hard to imagine they will not qualify, it is still a distinct possibility.
Should Juventus defeat Atletico and either Bayern Leverkusen or Lokomotiv Moscow win their match, then Atletico will go into the final group stage match just one point ahead of whoever is third. Therefore, this is a must-win match for the Madrid based club.
Although Juventus have already qualified for the knockout stages, that does not mean that they will go easy. For psychological and tactical reasons, the Italian giants will want to finish top of their group with the hope that it will give them an easier route in the draw for the knockout stages.
News has arrived that Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been dealing with an injury, is expected to return to club duty and play in this mouth-watering fixture. Whilst this is undoubtedly good news for Juventus, one must admit that Ronaldo has been far from his best this season.
However, the revelation of his persistent injury highlights why his form has been inconsistent. Even though his club stats have not been immaculate this season, his international stats have been near-perfect and after scoring 11 goals in just eight games for Portugal this season, Ronaldo will no doubt be hoping to replicate this form for Juventus for the rest of the season.
His six goals in 14 games for the Turin club is way below what we expect of him and what he expects of himself. Is this due to his injury struggles or the lack of creativity amongst the Juventus squad? Probably both.
However, Juventus are starting to play with a bit more flair in front of goal, something they have been desperately lacking, and this will no doubt improve Ronaldo's chances of returning to his goalscoring form.
Whether he will perform well tomorrow remains to be seen, however, one cannot deny that it would be an incredible starting point and statement of intent for Ronaldo if he were to play magically against Diego Simeone's side, as we all know he is capable of doing.
A goal would be great but if he were able to score multiple goals, which he has been unable to do so this season for Juventus, would be even better and from that, the Portuguese could build on this confidence and return to being the freak of nature that he is.
It would be good for himself, good for Juventus and good for the game of football itself. Ronaldo has enjoyed plenty of success playing against Atletico Madrid in the past and could roll back the years to haunt them yet again.Published 25 Nov 2019, 17:08 IST