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Ronaldo is ‘1,000 per cent certain’ to stay at Juventus

By Reuters - Apr 21,2019 - Last updated at Apr 21,2019

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after Fiorentina scored an own goal following his shot during their Italian Serie A football match in Turin on Saturday (AFP photo by Isabella Bonotto)

TURIN, Italy — Cristiano Ronaldo is “1,000 per cent” certain to remain at Juventus, he said after they clinched the Serie A title on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina.

Ronaldo, dismissing suggestions that he could cut short his three-year contract, said he was delighted to have won Serie A at the first attempt, adding to his three English Premier League titles with Manchester United and two La Liga crowns with Real Madrid. 

“I’m really happy to have won the Italian title in my first season here. It has been a great season for this Juventus, we also won the Italian Supercup,” said the Portuguese forward, who has scored 19 league goals. 

“We didn’t do so well in the Champions League but there is always next year,” he added. “I will stay, 1,000 per cent.”

Defender Leonardo Bonucci, meanwhile, explained how Juventus had managed to bounce back from their shock Champions League quarter-final exit against Ajax on Tuesday when they lost 2-1 at home and went out 3-2 on aggregate.

“I’m sorry about the Champions League but we transformed the disappointment into anger and energy. This scudetto, the eighth in a row, is something unique,” he said. “We really want to celebrate, this success makes the season’s sacrifice all worth it. 

Coach Massimiliano Allegri said winning with five games to spare was a “testimony to our great season”.

“We put aside the elimination that brought us disappointment and bitterness. Fortunately, we had this match that allowed us to close the championship,” said the 51-year-old who has been in charge for the last five campaigns.

Allegri said his team, who fell behind after six minutes, needed to deal better with setbacks.

“We came from Tuesday’s disappointment, then entered the field and conceded a goal,” he said. “We have to work on dealing with the unexpected, on Tuesday we suffered four devastating counter-attacks, today we did the same after we conceded the goal.”

He said injuries had prevented Juventus from producing better performances.

“In general, during the season, we were unable to find continuity,” he said. “There were constant new injuries and recurring fitness problems, so at times I had only 14 players to train with. Despite it all, we won by a big advantage.”

Allegri has said several times that winning Serie A for an eighth year in a row would be “something extraordinary” but, for all the impressive statistics and records, it turned out to be all rather mundane.

The Turin side extended their dominance of Italian football while equalling the record for the earliest title win jointly held by Torino, Fiorentina and Inter Milan.

Juventus, who have the joint-best attack and best defence in Serie A, also became the first team in one of Europe’s big five leagues to win eight titles in a row and are still on course to equal their own domestic Serie A record of 102 points.

Yet, despite Allegri’s protestations about how winning should never be undervalued, it was strangely unsatisfying, especially as it came four days after they were knocked out of the Champions League — the competition they really wanted to win.

This was partly because the outcome was so predictable — adding Cristiano Ronaldo, still regarded as one of the world’s two best players at the age of 34, to an already dominant team was never likely to improve the league’s competitive balance. 

But there were also none of the awe-inspiring displays served up by teams such as Manchester City or Barcelona, nor the raw passion of Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool.

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