Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice from the penalty spot to win his battle with rival Lionel Messi and guide Juventus to a 3-0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday, earning the Italians top spot in Champions League Group G.
The former Real Madrid striker and his Argentina counterpart traded Ballon d’Or wins for a decade between 2008-2017 and were figureheads for the duelling Spanish giants, but there was only one winner at the Camp Nou as they met for the first time since Ronaldo’s departure for Juve in 2018.
Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus lost 2-0 at home against Barcelona in October without Ronaldo, sidelined with Covid-19, but were greatly improved and earned the first Champions League away win against Barcelona since Bayern Munich triumphed in 2013.
Both sides, tied on 15 points, were assured of qualification before kick-off, but Juve’s three-goal victory handed them a superior head-to-head record.
Ronald Koeman, reeling from Barcelona’s 2-1 defeat by promoted minnows Cadiz on Saturday in La Liga, reacted by making four changes but the hosts started badly.
It only took 13 minutes for Ronaldo to break the deadlock, slotting home from the penalty spot after the referee deemed Ronald Araujo’s challenge on him a foul.
Juventus did not relent and their pressure led to a second goal, US midfielder Weston Mckenzie volleying home Juan Cuadrado’s sweetly clipped cross in the 20th minute.
The Catalans and their captain Messi finally woke from their slumber, as the attacker had one effort blocked by Matthijs de Ligt and another saved by veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, while Pjanic lashed over the bar.
Ronaldo notched his second from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute after Clement Lenglet handled clumsily in the area, as the hosts imploded.
Antoine Griezmann, who was invisible in the first half, grazed the crossbar with a looping header from a Messi free kick, and Buffon beat out another effort, with De Ligt’s pressure enough to stop Martin Braithwaite converting the rebound.
Leonardo Bonucci had a fourth goal ruled out for offside after he tapped in Ronaldo’s effort from close range, with Messi trying in vain at the other end to answer Ronaldo, but he found the 42-year-old Buffon in his way time and time again.
Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League game on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal in a 3-0 win for Juventus over Dynamo Kiev.
The 36-year-old Frappart has already made history as the first woman to referee in Ligue 1, and took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. She also made her Europa League debut in October.
“Another barrier has been broken down, we know that she is very good, which is the most important and fundamental thing,” Juventus chief football officer Fabio Paratici said before the game of Frappart.
The Italian champions were already through to the last 16, along with Group G leaders Barcelona, but can still pip the Spaniards to the top spot, sitting three points behind them ahead of their trip to the Camp Nou next Tuesday.
“We’re ready for Barcelona,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo, whose side lost 2-0 to Barca in Turin, a game Ronaldo missed with coronavirus.
“These are games that change the season in terms of self-esteem and we will go there to win.
“But first there’s the (Turin) derby and we need to focus on the league. Even if we are qualified, it’s important not only for the classification but for our progress.
“But I’m satisfied with the game and the approach of the guys. I’m young and I know I have to improve like my players, but I go on with my work.”
Juventus had few problems on the pitch against the Ukrainians who they had also beaten 2-0 in Kiev on October 20.
Federico Chiesa inspired the victory, scoring the opening goal on 21 minutes before helping Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata add two more in the second half.
Dynamo goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan kept out a Weston McKennie header on 17 minutes.
But five minutes later, ex-Fiorentina midfielder Chiesa got his head to an Alex Sandro cross to beat Bushchan for his first goal since joining Juventus two months ago.
Ronaldo hit the woodwork after half an hour, with Buschan also denying the Portuguese star early in the second half.
The visitors had few chances but Wojciech Szczesny did well to prevent Viktor Tsygankov from scoring an equaliser before the break.
Just before the hour mark, Italy’s Chiesa powered down the right-wing before sending in a low cross for Morata which Bushchan pushed into the path of Ronaldo to tap in from close range.
The 35-year-old extended his Champions League record to 132 goals in the competition and brought his tally for club and country to 750 goals.
Chiesa was again involved in the third goal with 25 minutes remaining, picking out the run of Morata, who took three touches before firing in his sixth Champions League goal of the season, having also scored a brace in Ukraine.
France’s Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League match on Wednesday when Juventus host Dynamo Kiev in Turin, European football’s governing body UEFA confirmed.
The 36-year-old has already made history as the first woman to referee in the French top flight, and took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. She also made her Europa League debut in October.
It is the first time that a woman has been assigned to referee a game in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Italian giants Juventus host Ukrainian side Dynamo in Group G at the Allianz Stadium.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juve, second in the group, are already through to the last 16 along with leaders Barcelona with two games to play.
Frappart, who started refereeing at the age of 13, was the first woman referee in the French second division in 2014, moving up to the men’s Ligue 1 five years later.
In Europe, she was also the first woman to referee a men’s international when she took charge of September’s Nations League match between Malta and Latvia, and she recently refereed her first two Europa League matches — Leicester v Zorya Luhansk on October 22 and Granada v Omonia Nicosia last Thursday.
Frappart follows in the footsteps of two trailblazers in Nicole Petignat, the first woman to officiate in the UEFA Cup in 2003, and Bibiana Steinhaus, who became the first woman referee in a major European league when she arrived in Germany’s Bundesliga.
“It is at the same time a privilege, an honour and a responsibility,” Frappart said before her first full season at the top in 2019/2020 which was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I hope that my career will encourage young girls to become involved in refereeing.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Frappart and her assistants’ handling of the 2019 Super Cup final.
“There was so much pressure for an historic moment. They remained calm and did what they had to do. I couldn’t have more respect for Stephanie Frappart,” said the German.
Juventus booked a spot in the Champions League knockout stages on Tuesday, as Alvaro Morata’s injury-time goal grabbed a 2-1 win over Hungarians Ferencvaros.
Cristiano Ronaldo levelled after Myrto Uzuni’s early opener for the visitors in Turin, but Juve needed substitute Morata to strike late on to join Barcelona in qualifying from Group G with two games to spare.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty before scoring a late equaliser as Serie A leaders AC Milan salvaged a point in a 2-2 Serie A draw against Hellas Verona on Sunday to let rivals Juventus and Inter Milan off the hook after both were held 1-1 in earlier games.
“I’ll let Franck Kessie take the next one, that would be better,” said Ibrahimovic, who has now missed four of the last six penalties he has taken for AC Milan.
Stefano Pioli’s side are top of Serie A with a two-point advantage on second-placed Sassuolo, who were held to a goalless draw against Udinese on Friday.
Champions Juventus drop to fifth, four points behind the leaders after Lazio’s Felipe Caicedo scored five minutes into injury time to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half goal.
Inter Milan and Atalanta also shared the spoils in Bergamo after Aleksey Miranchuk scored on his first Serie A start for the hosts to cancel out Lautaro Martinez’s header.
Milan had the chance to pull four points clear at the top of the table in the final match before the international break.
But the leaders were two goals down in the San Siro after Antonin Barak opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Milan defender Davide Calabria bundled into his own goal quarter of an hour later.
Ibrahimovic had a chance for the equaliser after 66 minutes, after Verona defender Giangiacomo Magnani’s own goal had reduced the deficit for the hosts.
But the 39-year-old embarrassingly fired over the crossbar before redeeming himself deep into injury time by heading in his eighth league goal this season.
“With so many matches you are not always 100 percent,” said the veteran Swedish striker.
“It was important not to lose. Thank goodness there is a break now, so I rest a little.”
Milan avoided a first league defeat after their 24-match unbeaten run was ended with a Europa League loss to Lille during the week.
Napoli move third after a Victor Osimhen header sealed a 1-0 win over Bologna.
Roma are equal on points with Napoli, both one point ahead of Juventus, after a Henrikh Mkhitaryan hat-trick delivered a 3-1 win at Genoa.
– Ronaldo ‘crucial’ for Juve –
Earlier Juventus once again demonstrated how dependent they are on Portuguese star Ronaldo, letting three points slip after he limped off with an ankle injury with 15 minutes to go.
“Ronaldo is a crucial player,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.
The 35-year-old had scored his sixth goal in four games and had further chances for a second, rattling the post before Pepe Reina tipped a free-kick over the bar.
Caicedo, who came on early in the second half, once again had the final word.
He picked up a Correa cross and swivelled to fire in the equaliser as Juventus drew for the fourth time in seven league games.
Caicedo also scored in the midweek 1-1 Champions League draw at Zenit Saint-Petersburg and the winner in last weekend’s 4-3 victory at Torino.
“We played like Juventus for 93 minutes and 45 seconds, but then we conceded a goal because we eased off,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci who played his 400th game for Juventus.
Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio, embroiled in coronavirus chaos with star striker Ciro Immobile back in isolation after playing last weekend, are ninth, six points off the leaders.
“This team has heart, difficulties are part of our DNA,” said Inzaghi.
The Roman club are being investigated by the Italian football federation for possible Covid violations after UEFA blocked some players from Champions League games at Club Brugge and Zenit after testing positive.
– Inter lack ‘killer instinct’ –
Both Inter and Atalanta missed the chance to close the gap on the leaders days after Champions League defeats to Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively.
Former Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Miranchuk came off the bench just before the hour and scored 19 minutes later in his first game for the home side.
Romelu Lukaku returned from a thigh strain, playing the final quarter of an hour, but could not find a winner for Inter.
“We’re lacking a bit of the killer instinct to take home games,” said coach Antonio Conte, whose side are seventh just behind Atalanta.
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has tested negative for coronavirus after nearly three weeks, the club confirmed on Friday.
Ronaldo first tested positive for COVID-19 on October 13 while playing with Portugal. He had been in self-isolation since returning to Italy.
“Ronaldo carried out a check with a diagnostic test (swab) for COVID-19. The exam provided a negative result,” the Italian champions said in a statement.
“The player has, therefore, recovered after 19 days and is no longer subjected to home isolation.”
Juventus next play at promoted Spezia on Sunday, with all matches now behind closed doors following a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, with a record number of over 31,000 people testing positive in a 24-hour period in Italy on Friday.
The 35-year-old had missed four games including Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League defeat to Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, and Juventus’s 2-0 win at Dynamo Kiev in their Group G opener.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s return will be a boost for Andrea Pirlo’s faltering side who are fifth in Serie A, four points behind leaders AC Milan.
Ronaldo scored three goals in Juventus’s first two league games — a 3-0 win over Sampdoria and both goals in a 2-2 draw at Rome.
But the nine-time reigning champions have been held to three consecutive league draws, Rome (2-2), Crotone (1-1) and Verona (1-1).
They were awarded a 3-0 victory after Napoli refused to travel to Turin on October 4 because of coronavirus cases.
Ronaldo, the top scorer in Champions League history with 130 goals, was furious at missing this week’s game against Barcelona, after reportedly testing positive for the 18th time.
They have not faced off since the five-time Ballon d’Or winner left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.
Hours before kick-off, Ronaldo posted a photo on Instagram, stating: “Feeling good and healthy! Forza Juve! #finoallafine.”
Adding a comment for his 241 million Instagram followers on the swab tests used to detect the virus, he said: “PCR IS BULLSHIT.”
Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive again for coronavirus on the eve of Juventus’s Champions League clash against his great rival Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, according to media reports in Italy and Portugal.
Portuguese TVI reported that Ronaldo “has once against tested positive for Covid-19” following a swab carried out by Juventus.
The 35-year-old is now awaiting the result of a UEFA test which, if also positive, would rule him out of the Group G game in Turin.
Ronaldo first tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago while playing with Portugal, and has been in self-isolation since returning to Italy.
According to TV1, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has tested positive 18 times.
Ronaldo needed to return a negative test, 24 hours before the game to be allowed to play, according to UEFA rules.
Juventus only confirm if a player has recovered, with Sky Sport Italia and Gazzetta Dello Sport reporting that Ronaldo will miss the Barcelona game.
“Ronaldo had a test like everyone else, this evening (Tuesday) we will have the definitive result,” coach Andrea Pirlo told a press conference earlier Tuesday.
“For now it’s all on the high seas, when the final result comes everything will be clearer.
“Depending on the result, we’ll see what we do. It’s not easy to play an entire game after 15 days of inactivity.”
Ronaldo, who has no symptoms, has missed three games including his side’s 2-0 Champions League win at Dynamo Kiev last week.
The clash would be the first between Ronaldo and Messi since the Portugal forward left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.
“For 15 years, Messi and Ronaldo have done great things,” said former Italy and Juventus midfielder Pirlo.
“For the first time, I’ll be taking on Messi as a coach, I’ll treat him with the enormous respect that he deserves.”
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman added: “We always want the best to be on the pitch, and Ronaldo is a great player.
“I don’t know if he will be in condition to play, that’s not my problem. But if Ronaldo is there, it is one more reason for us to be ready.”
Koeman, like Pirlo, has taken over as coach this season, with the teams top of Group G after winning their opening fixtures.
But the Dutch manager has been under pressure after a 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid at the weekend followed a 1-0 loss to Getafe, the first time in four years the Catalan giants have suffered consecutive defeats in the league.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu also resigned on Tuesday along with his board of directors, following mounting pressure from fans and his public falling out with Messi.
‘Not a decisive game’
Ronaldo and Messi now look set to meet again in the reverse fixture at the Nou Camp on December 8.
Messi, 33, has featured in four victorious campaigns for Barcelona, while Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times, four with Real Madrid and once with Manchester United.
Messi has six Ballon d’Or titles with Ronaldo claiming five.
However Ronaldo has 130 Champions League goals to Messi’s 116.
“It’s clear that any team would miss a player like Cristiano,” said Brazil defender Danilo at the pre-match press conference.
“But we have faith in every player on the team. We have people who want to do well and help us have a great match.”
Messi has won 16 of their 35 encounters to Ronaldo’s 10, with the remaining nine ending in draws.
The pair have only met five times in Champions League games, most recently in the semi-final in 2011.
Pirlo also has defensive worries with captain Giorgio Chiellini, and Matthijs De Ligt out but fellow centreback Leonardo Bonucci’s thigh strain will be evaluated on Wednesday morning.
“These are the matches that everyone would like to play. We have this opportunity and we can’t wait to test ourselves against Barcelona,” said Pirlo.
“It’s not a decisive game, but we still want to see what our value is.”
Argentina forward Paulo Dybala remains “a bit tired” after playing for 90 minutes in his first match in over three months last Sunday against Verona.
“It’s normal after the first game as a starter. He’ll have time to recover and play tomorrow night.”
Cristiano Ronaldo and other top Juventus players could face legal action for rejoining their national teams despite coronavirus rules after two positive cases at the Italian champions, local health authorities in Turin said on Wednesday.
As well as the Portuguese star, several South Americans including Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Danilo and Rodrigo Bentancur also left the Juventus team hotel before the isolation ended on Wednesday evening.
“The club itself told us that some players had left the place of isolation and therefore we will notify the competent authority, that is the prosecutor, of what happened,” said Roberto Testi, a director of the health authority in the Piedmont region, quoted by the Ansa news agency.
“All my tests were negative. It was a personal choice,” said midfielder Danilo from the Brazil training camp at Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro.
“For me it’s an honour to play for the national side. As soon as my tests were negative and I felt safe, I didn’t hesitate.
“There have been a lot of questions, we have to discuss it again when I return to Italy.”
Both virus cases at the club were among the team’s non-playing staff.
The entire Juventus team and staff had been isolating from Saturday, a procedure that did not prevent them from training or playing, but prohibits contact with the outside.
Players were finally allowed to leave the hotel on Wednesday evening “following checks provided for by the health protocol with the obligation to continue the isolation at home,” Juventus said.
“Players and staff will be able to go to the training centre for normal activities,” the team added.
Several other internationals called up are now clear to join their national sides, including France’s Adrien Rabiot, Italians Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, Wales’ Aaron Ramsey and Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny.
Italian football has been hit by multiple coronavirus cases in the past week after a cluster of 22 in Genoa whose Serie A match against Torino was postponed to November 4.
Napoli failed to turn up for their match against Juventus on Sunday night on the instructions of local health authorities after two positive cases, and could forfeit the game 3-0.
Two Italy Under-21 players tested positive midweek sending the team into isolation before their European Championship qualifier against Iceland on Friday.
In a highly-anticipated first clash between two former stars of Italy and AC Milan now chasing coaching glory, Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli test their ‘Scudetto’ ambitions at Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus on Sunday.
Both won the 2006 World Cup for Italy and spent a decade as AC Milan teammates, winning two Serie A titles and two Champions League crowns together.
It is a clash which Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte can’t wait to see.
“Juve v Napoli? I’ll enjoy watching it,” said Conte, who coached Pirlo as a player to the first three of Juventus’s current run of nine Serie A titles.
“Napoli are underestimated a lot,” continued Conte.
“They are an excellent team, they are among the favourites for the Scudetto.
“They have a staff and a very good coach who will make life difficult for everyone.”
Gattuso begins his second season on the Napoli bench having taken over from Carlo Ancelotti last December. The club finished seventh but qualified for the Europa League after winning the Italian Cup, their first trophy in six years.
Former Glasgow Rangers defensive midfielder Gattuso has been coaching since he hung up his boots in 2013, with the bulk of his footballing career spent at AC Milan.
He had stints at Sion, Palermo, Crete and Pisa before returning to Milan where he trained the youth team before coaching the first-team for 18 months.
The 42-year-old left Milan after the team missed the Champions League by just one point.
By contrast, Pirlo, 41, had no coaching experience before taking over from Maurizio Sarri, receiving his coaching diploma days before the season kicked off.
“Well he’s stuck now! That’s the job,” quipped Gattuso on hearing Pirlo’s appointment.
“He’s lucky to be starting at Juventus, but this profession is one where a great playing career is not enough. You have to study, to work hard, and you don’t get much sleep.”
– Coronavirus tests –
This season Gattuso has the ambitious task of winning a first Serie A title since the days of Napoli legend Diego Maradona in 1990.
Pirlo is counting on extending Juventus’s winning streak to 10 consecutive Serie A titles.
Napoli are top of the Italian league table after two games with a win over Parma, and a 6-0 hammering of Genoa last time out.
Pirlo’s Juventus is a team “under construction”. They were held 2-2 by Roma last weekend.
As Napoli sit equal on maximum points with Inter Milan, Atalanta, Hellas Verona and AC Milan, Juve have four points.
Napoli are awaiting the results of a second round of coronavirus tests as last week’s opponents Genoa had 16 positive tests this week, including 12 players.
Genoa’s game against Torino on Saturday has been postponed.
A first round of swabs at Napoli came back negative, with the results of the second series of tests expected on Friday.
Inter, who have scored nine goals in their first two matches, take on a Lazio hurting after their 4-1 defeat to Atalanta in the Stadio Olimpico.
“Inter have been considered an outsider for many years, now we have acquired credibility,” said Conte of last season’s runenrs-up.
High-scoring Atalanta next host Cagliari with Hellas Verona looking for a third consecutive win at Parma.
Roma head for Udinese looking for their first win, with the north-easterners reeling after losing to promoted La Spezia, who next challenge AC Milan.
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Fiorentina v Sampdoria (1845)
Sassuolo v Crotone (1300), Udinese v Roma (1845)
Postponed: Genoa v Torino
Atalanta v Cagliari (1030), Benevento v Bologna, Lazio v Inter Milan, Parma v Verona (all 1300), AC Milan v Spezia (1600), Juventus v Napoli (1845)
Spanish striker Alvaro Morata on Tuesday returned to Juventus on loan from Atletico Madrid, the Turin club announced.
The much-travelled Morata, who is 27, played for Juventus from 2014-2016, scoring 27 goals in 93 appearances.
He graduated through the youth system at Real Madrid and had two stints at the club either side of his first spell at Juventus. He also had a spell at Chelsea before joining Atletico, initially on loan
He has joined Juventus on a season-long loan, which will cost 10 million euros (11.7 million dollars), the club said.
“He will be part of this year’s team, with an option for a one-year extension to the loan, plus an option to buy,” said Juventus on their web site, adding that the transfer fee would be 45 million euros, in three annual payments of 15 million euros, while a loan extension would cost 10 million euros at the end of which Juventus would have another option to buy, for 35 million euros.
“There’s nothing more exciting than a homecoming and the return of Alvaro Morata to Turin is a beautiful one at that!” said Juventus.
After Gonzalo Higuain left for Miami last week, Juve’s new coach, Andrea Pirlo, needed a solid centre-forward. The club was linked to Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Roma’s Edin Dzeko but Morata, who played with Pirlo in his first spell at club, has arrived instead.
Spanish media immediately speculated that Morata’s departure could clear the way for Atletico to recruit Suarez.
Morata scored in both legs in the 2015 Champions League semi-finals as Juventus beat one of his former clubs, Real Madrid, 3-2 on aggregate.
He then scored a second-half equaliser in the final before goals by Suarez and Neymar gave Barcelona a 3-1 victory.
His last goal for Juventus was the winner in the 2016 Copa Italia final against AC Milan, when he came off the bench 18 minutes into extra time and scored two minutes later.
“Even though Alvaro left the club four years ago, after having won five trophies in two years: two Scudetti, two Italian Cups, one Italian Super Cup, he has always remained Bianconero in his heart and his return will be as though he never even said goodbye.
Juventus have terminated the contract of striker Gonzalo Higuain with the Argentine joining Inter Miami in the US Major League Soccer on Friday.
The 32-year-old joins former Juventus teammate Blaise Matuidi at the Florida team after leaving the Serie A champion and will play in the same league as his older brother Federico, who is now with D.C. United.
“Individually, my goal is to demonstrate that I can contribute and continue playing great football here,” Argentine Higuain said. “I hope I can achieve that because I have all the tools necessary to succeed.”
Higuain moved to Juventus for 90 million euros (today $106.5 million) from Napoli in 2016, but after two solid seasons fell out of favor and spent the 2018-19 campaign on loan first at AC Milan and then Chelsea before rejoining Juve last summer.
New Juve coach Andrea Pirlo has said that Higuain, who played in three World Cups for Argentina and scored 31 goals in 75 international appearances, was not part of the club’s plans.
He leaves having helped Juve to win three Serie A titles, including their most recent triumph last season.
“I want to thank Inter Miami for the effort it has made to sign me,” added Higuain. “I think it will be a beautiful experience in my life.
“It’s what I was looking for — a new experience, a new league and a beautiful city. I’m really happy to be here and that it’s official.
“My goal is to try to transmit all the experience I acquired in Europe and to help the team grow.”
Anything would help the Miami, who are bottom of the overall table with two wins and two drawn in 11 matches. They have managed only nine goals and their 0-5 start was the worst for any first-year MLS club.
Higuain’s Inter Miami debut is expected on September 23 when the New York Red Bulls visit South Florida.
“We are pleased to close a deal with Gonzalo and add an experienced and successful goalscorer, who has excelled in the world’s best teams and leagues,” Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough said.
“Our goal is to not only bring elite players to Inter Miami, but also good people that share our ambition and aspiration of making history in North American futbol, and we’re confident we have found that in Gonzalo.”