Even as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner it is difficult not to acknowledge that, within a team sport, those around you play a significant part in your success on the pitch. That is, unless your name is Cristiano Ronaldo and appear to believe that your personal success is yours alone.
Seemingly unable to accept that he himself is only human, and yet to set the world alight in Turin since arriving in the summer of 2018, the ageing superstar showed an astonishing lack of respect for his teammates during their latest victory in Serie A, something we were more used to seeing more than a decade ago when scouring the latest Premier League betting offers.
After offering little to help Juventus make the breakthrough against an AC Milan side languishing in the lower reaches of the Serie A standings, the Portuguese striker was hauled off after just 55 minutes – replaced by eventual matchwinner Paulo Dybala – and chose to storm straight home.
Post-game Ronaldo apologists claimed that the 34-year-old was nursing an injury, however, his childlike temper tantrum makes it hard to believe that the ex-Real Madrid star was carrying an injury and Bianconeri players and staff are rightly demanding an apology.
They should expect one as well, with the club arguably facing only the second significant challenge to their domestic dominance – the other Napoli in 2017/18 – and are in need of the senior members of the team to lead by example. That includes Cristiano, as Juventus are not paying him a small fortune just to score winning goals and sell merchandise.
Agent Jorge Mendes, who was reportedly contacted by vice-chairman Pavel Nedved immediately after the match, will no doubt provide a statement dripping in excuses about frustration over Cristiano’s failure to reach his usual high standards, but will not really cut it with Juventus’ hardcore support.
The Juventini expect more from the senior members of their side, particularly during a season that can be considered one of transition, given the arrival of new coach Maurizio Sarri ahead of the current campaign.
Turning 35 in February, the one-time Sporting prodigy has to accept that his powers of influence are diminishing as the years catch up with him. His prolificacy in front of goal since signing from Los Blancos has almost halved, as Juventus look largely to him to deliver a third European Cup.
During the endless, and often boring, debate whether the Portugal captain is better than Lionel Messi of Barcelona, his theatrics and tendency to embody a sulking teenager when they do not get their own way, only add to his detractors – even those loyal to the Turin club.
Unfortunately, Cristiano now heads into the international period to have praised lavished upon him at every turn, as his country’s greatest ever footballer, and probably come back with an even greater sense of entitlement and little chance of internal reflection.
Although securing an important three points against the Rossoneri, if Juventus finally lose their grip on the Scudetto this season and failed to capture the Champions League again, incidents like this will go a long way to unearthing where failings within the group exist.