Cristiano Ronaldo is Sporting Lisbon’s dream transfer after the club was crowned Portuguese champion for the first time in 19 years.
Ronaldo scored his 100th goal in a Juventus shirt in the 3-1 away win over Sassuolo on Wednesday. The 36-year-old superstar is counting goals as ever, but his overall game has been under heavy criticism recently. Juventus have been thrown out of the Champions League by FC Porto in the round of 16 and currently find themselves fifth in the Italian league. Juve, the Serie A champions for the past nine years, is on the verge of missing out on Champions League football next season.
Having spent five years in the Sporting academy, Ronaldo was playing in Sporting’s B team when the club last won the championship, back in 2002. He made his debut in the senior side a few months after their title win. His impact was instant. It didn’t take long for the big European teams to see the boy from Madeira was special.
At the end of the 2002-2003 campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson beat interest from Barcelona and Arsenal to sign him at Manchester United for the highest transfer fee ever paid for a teenager in English football, $17 million.
Ronaldo’s mother: ‘Next year he’ll play at the Alvalade’
Happy to see Sporting back on their winning ways, Cristiano’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, celebrated with family and friends at her home in Funchal, on the Madeira island. A few Sporting supporters gathered in front of the house and asked her to convince Cristiano to join the Lisbon giants.
“I’ll talk to him, to bring him back,” Dolores told the few tens of supporters. “Next year he’ll play at the Alvalade [Sporting’s stadium],” she insisted.
Ronaldo has one year left in his deal with Juventus. The Italian powerhouse paid $120 million in 2018 to sign him from Real Madrid. Ronaldo has a $38 million yearly salary in Italy. The 5-time ‘Ballon d’Or’ winner netted 35 times in 42 games at Juventus this season. In total, he has a staggering 100 goals in 131 games since his move. At Real Madrid, Ronaldo scored 450 times in 438 games.
The forward would be Sporting’s dream transfer ahead of their Champions League comeback season, a move few saw possible a year ago.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) May 14, 2021
Juve, desperate to avoid a disaster season
Although it was clear that this might be a transition year, not even the most pessimistic Juventus fan believed the team would fear missing out on the Champions League with just two games to go. Juventus is just one point behind fourth-placed Napoli, but there’s a mountain to climb during the last 180 minutes left in the competition.
On Saturday, Juventus faces already crowned champions Inter at home, then travels to 11th placed Bologna in the Serie A finale. Between the two games, Ronaldo and his teammates will try to save what’s still there to be saved. They’ll try to beat Atalanta (currently second in the league) and win their only title this season, the Italian Cup final.
Juventus is the favorite to beat arch-rivals Inter at +115, with a draw at +275 and a nerazzurri triumph at +210. Juventus finishing in the top four after the 38th round is at +110, while a one-year exodus to the Europa League, UEFA’s second-best club competition, is at -333.