Ronaldo Returns To Juventus Training After Two Months

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his second penalty, and his 50th goal with Juventus, during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Fiorentina on February 2, 2020, at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin. PHOTO: Marco Bertorello / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training with Juventus in Turin on Tuesday after an absence of over two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old arrived at the Juventus Training Centre in a Jeep with tinted windows around 09:20 (0720 GMT), leaving three hours later with a smile and thumbs up for waiting photographers.

Ronaldo underwent medical and physical tests before joining up with his teammates for the first time in 72 days for individual training, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Usain Bolt And Partner Welcome Baby Girl

Coach Maurizio Sarri has been conducting training in small groups since Monday, pending the final health protocol to be agreed with the Italian government.

Juventus players got back to individual training on May 4, the day Ronaldo returned to Italy after spending lockdown in his native Portugal.

For the past two weeks, he has been in quarantine in his villa in Turin.

Ronaldo played in Juventus’ last Serie A game before the season was suspended, a 2-0 win over Inter Milan behind closed doors at the Allianz Stadium on March 8.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the first Juventus foreign player, among those who left Italy during the lockdown, to return to the team’s Continassa training centre.

Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 32,000 deaths.

League leaders Juventus are leading Lazio by one point as they target a ninth consecutive ‘Scudetto’.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced on Monday that all its competitions, including Serie A, will remain suspended until June 14.

Serie A had hoped to return on June 13 but the FIGC has pushed back the date in line with a government decree that all sports competitions be suspended until next month.

The FIGC said the choice was made “pending any further… decision by the authorities”, suggesting the possibility of a restart on June 13 might still exist.

But Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday he needed “more guarantees” before the green light could finally be given for football to resume.

A meeting is planned in the near future between Conte and Italian football bosses.

The government’s technical and scientific committee will decide in the coming days if it accepts the new health protocols proposed for a return to group training and competition.

AFP

Juve Defender Rugani ‘Doing Well’ After Coronavirus Diagnosis

Juventus’ Italian defender Daniele Rugani gives a press conference at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Juventus FC. EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP

 

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani, the first Italian top-flight footballer diagnosed with coronavirus, said on Monday he was “doing well” and hoped his case “served to sensitise everyone” to the illness.

“I’m fine, I reassure everyone. I’ve always been quite well, I haven’t had any serious symptoms. I consider myself lucky,” Rugani told Juventus TV.

The 25-year-old Italian international was diagnosed last Wednesday with the Turin club saying he was asymptomatic.

Since then a total of 11 Serie A players have being diagnosed with the illness which has killed more than 1,800 people in the Mediterranean country.

“There was a huge media explosion right away. A lot of people wrote to me and I thank them,” said Rugani, who is currently self-isolating in a room at the team’s J-Hotel, beside the Italian champions’ training centre.

“I hope it served to raise awareness, especially those who had not understood the seriousness of this problem.

“I’m going to get over it, we’re going to get by and I hope we’ll all come out even stronger.

“The quarantine is tough, even more so because you are alone, so I can’t wait to embrace all my loved ones.”

AFP

Juventus Player, Matuidi, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Juventus' French midfielder Blaise Matuidi (R) kicks the ball past Inter Milan's Italian forward Antonio Candreva during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Inter Milan, at the Juventus stadium in Turin on March 8, 2020. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP
Juventus’ French midfielder Blaise Matuidi (R) kicks the ball past Inter Milan’s Italian forward Antonio Candreva during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Inter Milan, at the Juventus stadium in Turin on March 8, 2020. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

France World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi has tested positive for coronavirus but is currently asymptomatic, his club Juventus confirmed on Tuesday.

“Matuidi has undergone medical tests that have revealed his positivity to the Coronavirus-COVID-19,” the Italian champions said in a statement.

Juve added 32-year-old Matuidi, who lifted the World Cup in 2018, is currently “in voluntary home isolation”.

The midfielder’s club teammate Daniele Rugani was the first top-flight footballer to be diagnosed with coronavirus last Wednesday, sending the entire team into quarantine.

The 25-year-old Italian was also asymptomatic and is currently self-isolating in a room at the team’s J-Hotel, beside the team’s training centre.

Matuidi had urged his fans to “take care” in a post on Instagram at the weekend.

“In this difficult time for all of us, I just wanted to invite you to follow the official recommendations carefully and to take great care of yourself and your loved ones,” he said.

“A lot of encouragement and infinite thanks to all the medical and nursing staff. We are with you.”

In total 12 Serie A players have officially been diagnosed with the illness including seven from Sampdoria and three at Fiorentina.

The virus has killed more than 2,500 people in Italy and infected over 31,000.

 

AFP

‘Don’t Worry, I’m Fine,’ Insists Juve Coronavirus Victim Rugani

FILES) In this file photo taken on April 09, 2019 Juventus’ Italian defender Daniele Rugani gives a press conference at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Juventus FC.  AFP

 

Juventus and Italy defender Daniele Rugani told fans ‘don’t worry, I’m fine’ on Wednesday after becoming the first Serie A footballer to test positive for the new coronavirus.

The 25-year-old “is currently asymptomatic,” the Italian champions said, but the Turin-based club are “currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him.”

“I want to reassure all those who are worried about me, I’m fine,” Rugani later said on Instagram.

“At this moment, however, I feel even more duty to thank all the doctors and nurses who are struggling in hospitals to cope with this crisis.

“I invite everyone to respect the rules, because this virus makes no distinctions! Let’s do it for ourselves, for our loved ones and for those around us.”

Rugani is the first top-flight footballer to fall victim to the virus which has killed 827 in Italy, the second most stricken country in the world after China, and infected 12,000 people, including several Serie C players.

Rugani has spent the last seven years at league leaders Juventus apart from a two-year loan spell at Empoli.

He has played just three league games this season, most recently against Brescia on February 16 and SPAL on February 22.

He was on the bench in Lyon for the Champions League last-16, first-leg clash on February 26 in France and the team’s last game against Inter Milan in Serie A on March 8.

Inter said Wednesday that “all competitive activities have been suspended until further notice” as a result of Rugani’s positive test.

“The club is currently taking steps to put all the necessary procedures into place,” the Milan club said.

Juventus are due to host Lyon in their Champions League return fixture behind closed doors in Turin next Tuesday.

All sports in Italy have been suspended until April 3, including Serie A football, but Champions League and Europa League matches are under the jurisdiction of UEFA.

UEFA called off two Europa League games on Thursday between Italian and Spanish teams. Inter Milan were set to host Getafe with Roma due to travel to Sevilla.

In the Champions League, Barcelona are also due to host Italian club Napoli next Wednesday.

Many Serie A clubs had suspended training until next week but Juventus continued to train ahead of their planned Champions League tie.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo is currently in Portugal with his mother who suffered a stroke.

“Cristiano Ronaldo did not train and remains in Madeira pending developments related to the current health emergency,” the team said earlier Wednesday.

Italy’s 60 million residents are in lockdown in a desperate bid to halt the spread of a virus which claimed 196 lives in the last 24 hours.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Wednesday that all stores, except for pharmacies and food shops, would now be shut.

AFP

Juventus Beat Inter To Go Top After Coronavirus Chaos

 

Aaron Ramsey starred as Juventus beat title rivals Inter Milan 2-0 on Sunday to reclaim top spot in Serie A in a game played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier in the day, Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora called for the league season to be put on hold.

His statement caused chaos at the early game between SPAL and Parma, with confused players sent back to the dressing rooms from the tunnel before eventually taking to the field 75 minutes after the scheduled kick-off.

Juventus’ game against Inter in Turin did go ahead, although in an empty Allianz Stadium, with the defending champions taking a one-point lead over Lazio at the top of the table.

READ ALSO: Madrid’s ‘Worst Game Of Season’ In Betis Defeat, Lets Barca Back In

Juve coach Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sport Italia that he “doesn’t know what is the right thing to do” when it comes to the thorny question of cancelling matches.

“What have to I ask is whether it’s right to take away two hours of enjoyment from those who are stuck indoors or if there really is a serious risk for the players and staff, I just don’t know the answer to those questions,” said the 61-year-old.

On the game itself, he added: “This is an important victory, but there are still 12 games to go, so it’s a long road ahead.

“It’s very positive that we barely allowed a quality side like Inter a single shot on goal.”

Antonio Conte’s third-placed Inter are now nine points adrift, but with a game in hand on Juve and Lazio.

Douglas Costa went closest in a tight first half, but was denied by an excellent save from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

The hosts broke the deadlock 10 minutes after the break, as Cristiano Ronaldo got to a low ball first inside the box, with it then falling kindly for Ramsey to sweep a low shot into the net from close range.

It was the Wales midfielder’s fourth goal of the season after joining Juve from Arsenal last year.

The 29-year-old created his side’s second goal 12 minutes later, playing a neat one-two with Paulo Dybala, who wriggled clear of two defenders and fired home.

Inter substitute Christian Eriksen went close to pulling one back when he drilled a shot narrowly over the crossbar.

Things went from bad to worse for the away side when Daniele Padelli, sitting on the substitutes’ bench, was shown a red card for dissent.

‘FIGC should consider stopping Serie A’

The climax of the season remains uncertain, though, after a deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus in Italy which has claimed the lives of over 350 people.

Italians woke up to discover the entire Lombardy region around Milan and other parts of the north in which a quarter of all Italians live — and most big teams play — under lockdown.

Italian Footballers’ Association president Damiano Tommasi tweeted that “stopping football is the most useful thing for our country right now”.

“The teams to cheer are playing in our hospitals, in emergency rooms,” Tommasi wrote.

Spadafora quickly sounded his own support for the idea of suspending the season right away.

“The FIGC (Italian Football Federation) should consider immediately STOPPING Serie A,” Spadafora wrote on Facebook.

Elsewhere on the pitch, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s fourth goal since returning to AC Milan could not prevent the seven-time European champions from slipping to a 2-1 loss at home to struggling Genoa.

Milan remain seventh, three points off a Europa League place.

SPAL edged out Parma 1-0 in the delayed early match to boost their slim survival chances, while Sampdoria moved out of the bottom three by beating Verona 2-1.

Juventus Semi-Final Clash Against AC Milan Postponed Over Coronavirus

 

 

The Italian Cup semi-final clash between Juventus and AC Milan has been postponed as fears mount over the coronavirus epidemic in northern Italy, local authorities in Turin announced on Tuesday.

The match was due to take place on Wednesday night at Juve’s Allianz Stadium with fans from most of Italy able to attend but Claudio Palomba, the prefect of the Turin province, said that the government’s restrictions on who could attend sporting events weren’t enough to guarantee safety.

The decision, said Palomba, was made on the basis of “assessments made by the Piedmont region’s crisis unit” and regional health councilor Luigi Icardi, who insisted on “avoiding large public gatherings”.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Suffer Second Defeat As Chelsea Advance To FA Cup Quarter-Finals

No new date has yet been fixed for the second leg of the last-four tie, which is level at 1-1 following the first match at the San Siro last month.

News agency Ansa reports that the Milan players were told of the news while in their hotel in Turin ahead of the match.

On Tuesday the number of deaths in Italy caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus jumped to 79 with more than 2,500 people infected — the most of any country in Europe.

Fifty-five of those deaths have been recorded in the northern Lombardy region, with Emilia-Romagna reporting 18 deaths and Veneto also hard hit.

The match had been scheduled to take place behind closed doors, but then a government decree enabled fans who did not live in those three regions and two other provinces in Liguria and Le Marche to attend the match.

The announcement by the prefect, who in Italy is the state’s representative within a particular province, ended that loosening of restrictions.

Italian media reports on Tuesday said that a scientific committee advising the government has suggested spectators should be banned from attending sporting events for a month.

AFP

Ronaldo Misses Training, Visits Stroke-Stricken Mother

FILES) In this file photo taken on December 26, 2018 Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo looks on from the substitutes’ bench prior to the Italian Serie A football Match Atalanta Bergamo vs Juventus at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium in Bergamo.   AFP

 

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo skipped training with his Italian club Juventus on Tuesday to dash to the Madeira home of his mother, victim of a stroke, local press reported.

“All we can say is that he’s not at training for personal reasons,” Juventus told AFP, without giving further details.

According to the Diario de Noticias da Madeira, Ronaldo was expected to make a whistlestop return to Funchal, capital of the Portuguese island lying in the Atlantic, arriving Tuesday afternoon but departing Wednesday in good enough time to be available for the Italian Cup semi-final between Juve and AC Milan.

Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro suffered the stroke early Tuesday. The 65-year-old is now reportedly conscious and in a stable condition in a Funchal hospital.

Coronavirus: Juve Vs Inter Among Five Postponed Games

 

Five Serie A matches this weekend have been postponed because of the Coronavirus, including Juventus’ game at home to Inter Milan.

Matches at Udinese, AC Milan, Parma and Sassuolo have also fallen victim to the outbreak of the virus in Italy.

The games were initially going to be played behind closed doors, but Serie A took the decision on Saturday morning to call them off.

Details later…

Lyon Down Juventus In Champions League Last 16, First Leg

 

Cristiano Ronaldo drew a blank as a Lucas Tousart goal handed Lyon a surprise 1-0 win over Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in France on Wednesday.

Midfielder Tousart netted in the 31st minute to give Lyon a lead to defend when they head to Turin for the return on March 17.

The goal came with Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt off receiving treatment, but it was just reward for an excellent first half by a Lyon side enduring a mediocre campaign.

They then survived late Juventus pressure to claim their finest European result since defeating Manchester City in last season’s group stage.

“It was a top-class first-half performance from us. It was much harder in the second half, but I was happy with how we hung in there,” said Lyon coach Rudi Garcia.

“I said to the boys that when you’re at home in the first leg it’s very important not to concede, and now we need to go and score there. We must remain humble, it’s only half-time.”

Maurizio Sarri’s side have genuine ambitions of winning a trophy that has evaded Juventus for almost a quarter of a century now, but they could not claim a precious away goal here, with Paulo Dybala seeing a late effort disallowed.

“In the first half it was not the Juve that we know. We didn’t get going in attack. I am struggling to understand certain things,” said Sarri, who thought his team could have had two penalties.

“We didn’t do enough given this was a Champions League match but fortunately we still have 90 minutes to turn it around.”

The match went ahead before a full house at the Groupama Stadium, including around 3,000 Juventus supporters allowed to attend despite calls from some French politicians to block their access amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

Those fans, and the Juve squad, would have crossed the Alps with confidence. The Serie A leaders came as overwhelming favourites against a Lyon team looking like possibly the weakest left in the competition.

The visitors’ attack was led by a Ronaldo in fine shape, with the 35-year-old having scored in all nine appearances in 2020 and netted 19 times since the beginning of December.

Juve saved by woodwork

He and his club — beaten in five Champions League finals since last lifting the trophy in 1996 — are in a hurry to succeed in this competition, but they did not play like contenders to go all the way.

Bidding to win a Champions League knockout tie for the first time in a decade, it was Lyon who quickly gained the upper hand, with new signing Bruno Guimaraes outstanding anchoring the midfield.

Karl Toko-Ekambi, another January signing, headed off the bar from Houssem Aouar’s corner midway through the first half. It was a warning to Juve of what was to come.

De Ligt left bloodied

Sarri’s team went temporarily down to 10 men after De Ligt was left stricken, blood streaming from a head wound, following a collision in Lyon’s area.

With the Dutchman off, Lyon pounced. Aouar burst into the box from the left and teed up Tousart to score from six yards.

With the heavily bandaged De Ligt back on, Lyon continued to threaten, Toko-Ekambi twice firing off target.

Juventus sent on Gonzalo Higuain and Aaron Ramsey in the second half and started to push Lyon back.

Nevertheless, they struggled to create chances, with Ronaldo rarely looking like adding to his recent tally and having a late penalty appeal rejected.

Higuain squandered a good chance before Dybala was denied by the offside flag, and the Turin giants will have to turn the tie around in three weeks.

“We believe in ourselves. With our fans right behind us, we can progress through to the next stages,” insisted Ramsey.

They can look to what happened at the same stage a year ago for inspiration — then, they needed to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Atletico Madrid, and a Ronaldo hat-trick did the job in the return at home.

Ronaldo Marks 1,000th Game With Serie A Record

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo shoots a free-kick next to Juventus' Argentine forward Paulo Dybala during the Italian Serie A football match SPAL vs Juventus on February 22, 2020 at the Paolo-Mazza stadium in Ferrara. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP
Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo shoots a free-kick next to Juventus’ Argentine forward Paulo Dybala during the Italian Serie A football match SPAL vs Juventus on February 22, 2020 at the Paolo-Mazza stadium in Ferrara. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored for a record-equalling 11th consecutive Serie A game in his 1,000th professional match as Juventus extended their league lead on Saturday with a 2-1 win over basement club SPAL.

The 35-year-old tapped in six minutes before the break to equal the mark held by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season for Juventus, including 16 in his current run of 11 matches.

Aaron Ramsey added a second after an hour, before Andrea Petagna pulled one back from the spot for SPAL, amid controversy as the penalty was awarded following a VAR review despite the pitchside monitor not working.

It got Juventus back to winning ways away from home after consecutive defeats against Napoli and Hellas Verona, and ahead of next week’s trip to French club Lyon in the Champions League last 16, first leg.

Maurizio Sarri’s side opened up a four-point lead on second-placed Lazio who travel to Genoa on Sunday.

Inter Milan are six points behind the champions before their game at home against Sampdoria.

“These were very difficult matches and in the last few years we had never won here,” said Sarri.

“The test was to collect the three points, then from tomorrow morning we will study Lyon thoroughly.

“The goal is the championship. The Champions League is a dream, even if in life it is always nice to achieve dreams.”

Ronaldo had an early goal ruled offside but made no mistake when running onto Juan Cuadrado’s low cross after Ramsey’s ball forward.

The Portuguese forward drew level with Sampdoria forward Quagliarella, who in January 2019 equalled the mark previously achieved by Batistuta in 1994-1995 for Fiorentina.

Both Italian Quagliarella and Argentine Batistuta went on to finish the seasons as the Serie A top scorer after their feat, with both scoring 26 goals in total.

Ronaldo has 21 goals in Serie A this season, five behind leading scorer Ciro Immobile.

Milan held in Tuscany

Ramsey doubled Juve’s lead on the hour mark, latching onto Paulo Dybala’s pass to produce a scooped lob over SPAL goalkeeper Etrit Berisha for his second league goal of the season.

Petagna pulled one back with a penalty awarded for a Daniele Rugani foul on Simone Missiroli after 68 minutes, a decision made by VAR officials with referee unable to check the faulty monitor.

“Today we had goals scored using VAR when VAR wasn’t working,” said Sarri.

“It seems to me a great injustice — if the monitor does not work, the referee must decide.

“I understand that the regulation allows this and (referee Federico) La Penna explained it to me, but I don’t agree with it.”

Ronaldo missed a chace for a second when his free-kick hit the crossbar, but Sarri’s side earned a valuable three points against an outfit they had failed to beat away from home in the previous two seasons.

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini made his first start since being sidelined with a cruciate ligament knee injury last August, playing for 55 minutes in Ferrara.

“We’re taking it slowly, seeing how he reacts,” added Sarri.

“He can’t play three games in six days that’s for sure.”

AC Milan missed the chance to move ahead of sixth-placed Napoli into the Europa League places with a 1-1 draw at 10-man Fiorentina, to stay behind the southerners on goal difference.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a goal ruled out in the first half for a handball with Milan also losing goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to a foot injury seven minutes after the break with Asmir Begovic making his debut.

Ante Rebic scored his sixth goal in as many league games in the 56th minute to give Milan the lead.

Fiorentina’s Dalbert was sent off for a foul on Ibrahimovic, leaving the hosts a man down for the final half an hour.

But Erick Pulgar grabbed a point for 13th-placed Fiorentina from the spot with five minutes to go for an Alessio Romagnoli foul on Patrick Cutrone.

 

AFP

Inter Eye Redemption Against Sampdoria Before Juventus Clash

Inter Milan’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku (L) reacts at the end of the Italian Serie A football match Lazio Rome vs Inter Milan on February 16, 2020 at the Olympic stadium in Rome.
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Antonio Conte warned Inter Milan need to bounce back from recent setbacks against Sampdoria on Saturday to keep pace with leading duo Juventus and Lazio, before their clash with the Serie A champions in Turin next week.

Inter dropped from first to third, three points behind champions Juventus, after losing 2-1 to second-placed Lazio last weekend, following an Italian Cup defeat to Napoli.

“It was a painful result,” said Conte of the loss in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

“We’ve now got back up with the desire to bounce back and move forward.”

Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria are 17th, just one point above the relegation zone, and lost the reverse fixture in Genoa 3-1 in September.

Juventus can open up a six-point gap on Conte’s side with a win at rock bottom SPAL, before hosting Inter in their Allianz Stadium on March 1.

Lazio are just one point behind Juventus as they chase their first Scudetto since 2000, and can push their unbeaten run to 20 games at third-from-bottom Genoa.

Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus have lost their last two away matches and need a win against SPAL before their Champions League last 16, first leg trip to French club Lyon.

But despite their low ranking SPAL have shocked both Lazio and Atalanta this season.

Sarri could rest goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny before their European game allowing veteran Gianluigi Buffon to line out for a record 648 Serie A games.

Napoli travel to Brescia before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League next week in their Stadio San Paolo.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side have moved up to ninth, two points off the Europa League berths, after three wins in their last four games.

In the race for Champions League places, Atalanta are fourth, six points ahead of Roma, with the side from Bergamo hosting Sassuolo on a high after their stunning 4-1 European win over Valencia.

Roma, in fifth, have earned just four points from seven games, and desperately need a result at home against lowly Lecce.

“Not many people think we can qualify (for the Champions League) via the league but we still believe it’s possible,” said coach Paulo Fonseca.

“Right now the most important thing is that we get back to playing the way we were before, without adding any sort of pressure.

“We must regain our swagger and believe.”

Hellas Verona, in sixth, occupy the final Europa League berth, four points behind the side from the capital and equal on 35 points with Parma and AC Milan.

Verona host Cagliari, who have lost momentum and slipped to 11th, after a ten-match winless run going back to early December.

AC Milan travel to 13th-placed Fiorentina, as Torino, just below the Tuscans, host Parma trying to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat.

 

 

One to watch

Former Eintracht Frankfurt forward Ante Rebic has burst through with six goals in AC Milan’s last seven games in all competitions.

The 21-year-old joined the seven-time European champions on loan last September, but has only played 13 games, and scored for the first time with a brace against Udinese on January 9.

The arrival of his childhood idol Zlatan Ibrahimovic last month has boosted confidence in the team, said the Croatian international.

Key stats

647 – Gianluigi Buffon’s matches in Serie A, one short of the all-time record

42 – Points between leaders Juventus and bottom club SPAL

10 – Cristiano Ronaldo’s successive games scoring streak

3 – Roma’s losing run

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Brescia v Napoli (1945)

Saturday

Bologna v Udinese (1400), SPAL v Juventus (1700), Fiorentina v AC Milan (1945)

Sunday

Genoa v Lazio (1130GMT), Atalanta v Sassuolo, Hellas Verona v Cagliari, Torino v Parma (all 1400), AS Roma v Lecce (1700), Inter Milan v Sampdoria (1945).

AFP

Ronaldo Penalty Double Sends Juventus Six-Points Clear

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his second penalty, and his 50th goal with Juventus, during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Fiorentina on February 2, 2020 at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin.
Marco Bertorello / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo stretched his scoring streak to nine consecutive league games with a penalty double on Sunday as Juventus bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Napoli with a 3-0 win over Fiorentina.

The Portuguese striker slotted in both his goals from the spot in either half in Turin with Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt heading in a third in injury time.

Maurizio Sarri’s side open up a six-point lead on top of the Serie A table on second-placed Inter Milan, who travel to lowly Udinese later on Sunday.

Juventus had fallen to just their second defeat of the season last weekend at Sarri’s former club Napoli, despite Ronaldo scoring.

READ ALSO: Man United Frustrated By Top Four Finish, Says Shaw

Fiorentina, in 14th position, have had a resurgence in form since Giuseppe Iachini took over on December 24, and had been unbeaten in the league this year.

They tested Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny early with the Pole getting his hand to deny Federicio Chiesa’s back-heel kick and a Pol Lirola effort.

Fellow Pole Bartłomiej Dragowski denied Rodrigo Bentancur at the other end before a VAR viewing confirmed Fiorentina’s German Pezzella had handled the ball in the area.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo made no mistake, slotting in five minutes before the break.

His second came ten minutes from time after Federico Ceccherini brought down Rodrigo Bentancur.

Ronaldo made it 14 goals in nine games to bring his tally to 19 this season, including seven penalties.

The former Real Madrid player has now scored 50 goals in 70 games since moving to Juventus in 2018.

The 34-year-old also becomes the first Juventus player to achieve a run of goals in nine consecutive league games since David Trezeguet in December 2005.

De Ligt nodded in a Paulo Dybala cross after 91 minutes to hand Iachini his first league defeat with the Tuscany side.

Third-placed Lazio will try to close the gap on Juventus against struggling SPAL later on Sunday.

Roma’s fourth position, however, is now at risk after losing 4-2 to Sassuolo on Saturday.

Atalanta are just a point behind in fifth before they play relegation-candidates Genoa looking to move into the final Champions League berth.

AFP