“He was never a problem” – Claudio Marchisio defends Cristiano Ronaldo by claiming Juventus were not 'built in the right way'

Claudio Marchisio defended Cristiano Ronaldo's stint with Juventus.
Claudio Marchisio defended Cristiano Ronaldo's stint with Juventus.

Former Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio has defended Cristiano Ronaldo’s three-year spell with the Old Lady. He said that the absence of the right kind of players around Ronaldo was the reason why the Bianconeri didn't win the UEFA Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus in July 2018 for an initial fee of €100 million after nine trophy-laden seasons with Real Madrid. With Los Blancos, he won the Ballon d'Or award four times, and scored a staggering 450 goals (in 438 appearances) across various competitions.

The Portuguese attacker maintained similar numbers during his three seasons with Juventus. He scored 101 goals and provided 22 assists in 134 appearances across competitions. However, he came under scrutiny from the Italian media and many former players for multiple reasons.

The likes of Christian Vieri, Leonardo Bonucci and Antonio Cassano have said that Juventus are a better team unit without the presence of the serial winner. The consensus is that Ronaldo was able to achieve a high goalscoring return. But that came at the cost of defensive resilience and the need to build the entire team around him.

However, Marchisio believes Ronaldo alone could never have won the Champions League for Juventus, saying:

“A player alone can’t win the Champions League. I was sad because I wasn’t able play with him. I talked to my former teammates, and they always described his work ethic to me, which he managed to pass on to everyone."

During his three seasons with Juventus, Ronaldo led the team to two league titles and a Coppa Italia. However, criticism intensified when the team under Andrea Pirlo failed to win the league title last season. That marked the first time since 2011-12 that Juventus were not the Serie A winners.

Nevertheless, Claudio Marchisio defended Cristiano Ronaldo, saying that the team was not built right for him. He said:

He was never a problem, but the team around him was simply not built in the right way to play alongside him."

Cristiano Ronaldo eventually moved to his former club Manchester United this summer. Though he has continued his impressive exploits, recent results of the team have been inconsistent.

Claudio Marchisio praises Cristiano Ronaldo’s spell at Juventus as similar concerns are raised at Old Trafford

Marchisio went on to claim that it was an honour for Juventus to have the five-time Ballon d'Or winner at the club. He said:

“It was a great honour for the Juventus fans to have him at the club, regardless of the team’s results that everyone was hoping for. Ronaldo has always scored a lot of goals, which is why the management bought him in the first place.”

Ronaldo’s movement, instincts and ability to score goals have never been under doubt. However, his return to Manchester United has not been as fans would have envisaged, in terms of the team's results.

In 11 Premier League games so far, Manchester United have kept one clean sheet while conceding 25 goals. Despite the marked improvement due to three high-profile signings, Manchester United conceded only 44 goals in 38 domestic games last season.

Criticism has not been specifically aimed towards Ronaldo. But his lack of active pressing has arguably been part of the reason why United have struggled. There is also the need for the team to create regular chances for Portuguese Bruno Fernandes. He scored 28 goals last season, but has only managed four this time in 16 appearances across competitions.

Mason Greenwood has looked a shadow of the dynamic player that scored 12 goals last season. The only forward who has not been criticised is Edinson Cavani. He has impressed the Old Trafford faithful, not just due to his footballing skills and intelligence, but also for his untiring work rate.

Meanwhile, Manchester United talisman Marcus Rashford has had injury trouble. New signing Jadon Sancho is seemingly following the trend set by Dutchman Donny Van De Beek. Van de Beek has consistently been left on the bench since his arrival.

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