Ronaldo Becomes Top Scorer Of All Time As Disputes Persist Over Record

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo poses for photographers with the winners’ trophy after the Italian Super Cup (Supercoppa italiana) football match between Juventus and Napoli on January 20, 2021 at the Mapei stadium – Citta del Tricolore in Reggio Emilia. T
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 760th career goal in Juventus’ 2-0 Italian Super Cup win over Napoli on Wednesday, prompting claims he is the top scorer of all time. However, doubts persist as to who actually holds the record.

With five goals for Sporting Lisbon, 118 for Manchester United, 450 for Real Madrid, 85 for Juventus and 102 for Portugal, there is little debate over Ronaldo’s own tally.

The Portuguese forward, who turns 36 next month, is the undisputed holder of several records, easily the leading scorer for Real Madrid and his country, and above Lionel Messi in the Champions League goalscoring charts.

But uncertainty arises from the totals of his rivals from previous eras, with the likes of Brazilian duo Pele and Romario both claiming to have netted more than 1,000 goals.

Last month Barcelona’s Messi surpassed Pele’s recognised total of 643 goals for a single club, but Santos swiftly countered saying the three-time World Cup winner racked up 1,091 goals for them including those in friendlies.

Pele’s own Instagram bio notes he is the “Leading Goal Scorer of All Time (1,283)”.

However, if just official matches are the measuring stick, the Brazilian is apparently still behind Josef Bican, who football historians calculated scored 805 goals between 1931 and 1955 playing for half a dozen clubs as well as Austria and Czechoslovakia.

“‘Pepi’, as he was known, is credited with scoring 805 goals in 530 games, giving him a career average of 1.52 goals per game,” FIFA.com said in an article devoted to him last year.

Included in that number though are 27 goals for Rapid Vienna’s reserve and amateur sides, in addition to some that were scored not in official international matches.

Discounting those strikes puts Bican on 759 goals from just 495 games, although international football research website RSSSF (Rec. Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation) says data is partially missing from the 1952 season in the Czech second division.

Pele is credited with between 757 and 767 goals in competitive matches over his career, which included 92 Brazil internationals and two seasons with the New York Cosmos.

He is listed third (767) by RSSSF behind Romario, who helped Brazil to the 1994 World Cup and ended with 772 goals.

Romario celebrated reaching a “personal count” of 1,000 goals in 2007, a total comprising strikes at youth level and in friendlies and testimonials.

Other reports and statisticians suggest Romario’s official haul is just under 750 following a globetrotting career that included spells at PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Flamengo, Miami FC and Adelaide United.

As for Messi, who at 33 is two years Ronaldo’s junior, he is on 719 goals for Barcelona and Argentina and will undoubtedly factor into the equation before he is done.

What is certain is that even if Ronaldo did not break the all-time record, the mark appears well within reach for a player who continues to score at a remarkable rate as he approaches his 36th birthday.

-AFP

Ronaldo Picks Up 2020 Golden Foot Award After Beating Messi, Others To Prize

He netted 37 goals and six assists in 46 matches during the 2019/2020 campaign. Photo: [email protected]

 

Juventus forward, Cristiano Ronaldo has picked up the 2020 Golden Foot Award he won by beating archrival, Lionel Messi and nine other players, describing it as an honour. 

“I am honoured to win the @goldenfootofficial and to be immortalised on the Champion Promenade in Monaco, together with some of the greatest football legends of all time!” the Portugal international tweeted on Sunday after picking up the 18th Golden Foot Award in which he also beat Lewandowski, Neymar, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Aguero, Giorgio Chiellini and Arturo Vidal. “I am truly humbled and want to thank the fans all over the world for having voted for me.”

The 35-year-old former Manchester United striker was announced as the winner of the award introduced in 2003 after he got the highest votes from fans.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Boss Arteta Backs Temporary Substitutes For Head Injuries

“The star of Juventus and the Portuguese national team received the highest number of votes among the 10 contenders selected this year,” the organisers had said in a statement on its website, confirming the former Real Madrid player as the winner of the prize.

Unlike previous years, the awards ceremony, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will take a different shape for the event which “usually takes place in the heart of the Principality of Monaco.”

The awards ceremony and gala will take place on December 28th, 2020

Ronaldo netted 37 goals and six assists in 46 matches during the 2019/2020 campaign, a fine form that saw him shortlisted for the 2020 FIFA Awards won by Bayern Munich’s Polish striker, Roberto Lewandowski.

Juventus president, Andrea Agnelli, equally scooped the first Golden Foot Prestige prize.

“He is thus one of the most successful presidents in the history of
international football,” the organisers added.

Lewandowski Hopes To Break Messi, Ronaldo Monopoly As World’s ‘Best’

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL
File photo: Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL

 

Robert Lewandowski is confident of being named FIFA’s best male footballer on Thursday on the strength of his 55-goal haul to help Bayern Munich win the treble last season.

The Poland striker, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are shortlisted in the men’s category for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards.

“We were the best, there’s no doubt about that,” Lewandowski said on Wednesday ahead of the online ceremony at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

After a season “when you’ve scored a lot of goals and won everything, I don’t think there’s anyone I can compare myself to,” the 32-year-old added confidently.

His goals helped Bayern lift the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League trophies in 2019/20 as top-scorer in all three competitions.

Lewandowski has already been named the footballer of the year for Germany and Europe.

READ ALSOWHO Urges Use Of Masks During Christmas Celebration

Croatia’s Luka Modric, voted ‘The Best’ FIFA men’s footballer in 2018, is the only player to have broken Ronaldo and Messi’s domination since 2008.

Ronaldo has been voted player of the year five times, one less than Messi.

Can the Poland striker – who team-mate Thomas Mueller has dubbed ‘LewanGOALski’ – break the mould?

“There’s no one who deserves it as much as Robert,” said Bayern boss Hansi Flick, who is shortlisted for coach of the year alongside Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.

A file photo combination of Lewandowski, Messi and Ronaldo.

 

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer – who along with Jan Oblak and Alisson Becker is up for the best male goalkeeper award – says Lewandowski is “unique”.

“I’m really happy to have him in my team – and not to have to play against him,” Neuer quipped.

The various category winners will be decided by the votes of the captains and head coaches of all the national teams, plus more than 200 media representatives, while fans can also vote.

England’s Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder of Chelsea and French defender Wendie Renard are in the running for the women’s award.

However, Bayern players are only too aware of the dangers of getting their hopes up.

Former Munich winger Franck Ribery was crestfallen in 2013 – when Bayern also won the treble – to have been voted third behind Ronaldo and Messi.

A year later, Neuer had to settle for third behind the superstars despite outstanding displays to help Germany win the 2014 World Cup.

Lewandowski scored in Bayern’s 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in August with Messi on the losing team.

A footballer from a Bundesliga club has never been voted as the world’s best player.

Lothar Matthaeus, the only German voted FIFA world player of the year, was at Inter Milan when he achieved the feat in 1991.

Lewandowski would not be surprised if Messi wins it again on Thursday, adding: “we’ll have to wait 100 years until someone like him is born again”.

AFP

Ronaldo Beats Messi, Lewandowski, Others To 2020 Golden Foot Award

A file photo of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
A file photo of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo. AFP

 

Juventus striker, Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten archrival, Lionel Messi, Roberto Lewandowski and eight others to claim the 2020 Golden Foot Award, becoming the 18th winner of the trophy introduced in 2003.

The 35-year-old Portuguese forward got the highest votes from fans to bag the prize reserved for outstanding players in Europe who are above 28.

“Fans and supporters from all over the world have chosen the best footballer of 2020, awarding the 18th Golden Foot Award to Cristiano Ronaldo,” the organisers said in a statement on its website, confirming the former Manchester United player as the winner of the 17-year-old award.

“The star of Juventus and the Portuguese national team received the highest number of votes among the 10 contenders selected this year.”

READ ALSO: Arsenal Boss Arteta Backs Temporary Substitutes For Head Injuries

Ronaldo – who has won the Ballon d’Or awards five times– was nominated alongside Messi, Lewandowski, Neymar, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Aguero, Giorgio Chiellini and Arturo Vidal.

He netted 37 goals and six assists in 46 matches during the 2019/2020 campaign, a fine form that saw him shortlisted for the 2020 FIFA Awards.


Equally, the president of the Turin side, Andrea Agnelli, scooped the first Golden Foot Prestige prize.

“He is thus one of the most successful presidents in the history of
international football,” the organisers added.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they explained that the development has, “prevented the running of the 2020 awards ceremony and its traditional gala evening which usually takes place in the heart of the Principality of Monaco. We will therefore send you a press release to announce the details of the awards for this edition.”

FIFA Awards 2020: Lewandowski Joins Messi, Ronaldo On Ten Man Shortlist

 

European player of the year Robert Lewandowski is one of 10 players on the shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award unveiled Wednesday, alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe.

Besides Polish striker Lewandowski, one other winner of the Champions League with Bayern Munich made the list, Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who joined Liverpool in September.

The English champions also count Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Dutchman Virgil van Dijk on the shortlist.

Paris Saint-Germain, beaten Champions League finalists, are represented by Mbappe and Neymar.

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos complete the list.

Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, who led Leeds into the English Premier League, headlines a list for the men’s coach award, which also features Bayern’s Hans-Dieter Flick, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.

 

READ ALSO: Ibrahimovic Hints At Possible Sweden National Team Return

 

Three finalists from categories also including men and women’s goalkeepers, and women’s players and coaches will be announced on December 11, with the award handed out on December 17.

Shortlists for Best FIFA awards

Men: Thiago Alcantara (ESP/Bayern Munchen/Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich), Sadio Mane (SEN/Liverpool), Kylian Mbappe (FRA/Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona), Neymar (BRA/Paris Saint-Germain), Sergio Ramos (ESP/Real Madrid), Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (NED/Liverpool)

Women: Lucy Bronze (ENG/Lyon/Manchester City), Delphine Cascarino (FRA/Lyon), Caroline Graham Hansen (NOR/Barcelona), Pernille Harder (DEN/Wolfsburg/Chelsea), Jennifer Hermoso (ESP/Barcelona), Ji So-yun (KOR/Chelsea), Sam Kerr (AUS/Chelsea), Saki Kumagai (JPN/Lyon), Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER/Lyon), Vivianne Miedema (NED/Arsenal), Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon)

-AFP

Exhibition Game: S. Korea Court Orders Compensation For Ronaldo’s Absence

 In this file photo taken on September 08, 2020 Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after scoring his second goal during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

 

A South Korean promoter was ordered to compensate fans on Friday after Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo failed to play an exhibition match as promised.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner stayed on the bench throughout a 3-3 draw with a K-League all-stars team in July last year, despite the pleas and anger of a sell-out 65,000 crowd at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Match promoter The Fasta had run adverts promising the Portuguese striker would play.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered The Fasta to refund half the ticket price and an additional 50,000 won ($45) in compensation to each of 162 plaintiffs who had sued the promoter.

Tickets — priced from 30,000 won to 400,000 won — had sold out in less than three minutes, such was the clamour to see the 35-year-old.

“The defendant has contractual obligations of Ronaldo playing in the game barring any unforeseen circumstances,” the court said, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

The fans who had come expecting Ronaldo to play suffered “emotional distress”, it added.

No order was made against Ronaldo or Juventus.

The verdict followed a court in a different district ordering The Fasta to compensate two fans who had accused it of false advertising.

Anger over the superstar’s absence spread beyond sports fans to the wider public, prompting the coining of an online phrase “acting like Ronaldo”, referring to someone who doesn’t live up to their promises.

The K-League accused Juventus of “deception” and demanded an apology, while one fan flew to Sweden to confront his hero.

Juventus, who were on a promotional tour, had flown into South Korea on a delayed flight and arrived late at the ground, putting back kick-off by an hour.

AFP

Messi Vs Ronaldo In Champions League Group stage, Man Utd To Face PSG

(COMBO) This combination created on October 1, 2020, shows file pictures of Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi (L) Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Miguel MEDINA, Josep LAGO / AFP
(COMBO) This combination created on October 1, 2020, shows file pictures of Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi (L) Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Miguel MEDINA, Josep LAGO / AFP

 

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will meet in a mouthwatering clash in this season’s Champions League after Barcelona and Juventus were placed in the same group in Thursday’s draw.

Messi and Ronaldo will resume the rivalry they developed when the Portuguese superstar was at Real Madrid. Between them, they have won 11 of the last 12 Ballons d’Or.

The two heavyweights were drawn in Group G along with Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine and Ferencvaros, the Hungarian club returning to the group stage for the first time in quarter of a century.

Meanwhile, beaten 2020 finalists Paris Saint-Germain will have a chance for revenge against Manchester United, who ousted the French club in the last 16 two seasons ago.

READ ALSO: Lewandowski Named UEFA Men’s Player Of The Year

PSG will also come up against RB Leipzig in Group H. The sides met in last season’s semi-finals in Lisbon in August, with Paris winning 3-0 before losing to Bayern Munich in their first-ever final appearance.

Completing the group is Istanbul Basaksehir, who are appearing in the tournament proper for the first time.

English Premier League champions Liverpool, who won the Champions League in 2019, will face Ajax as well as Atalanta and Midtjylland of Denmark in Group D.

Holders Bayern will take on Atletico Madrid and will also have a short trip across the border to Austria to take on Salzburg in Group A. Lokomotiv Moscow are other team in the section.

Other notable match-ups will see 13-time European champions Real Madrid meet Inter Milan in Group B and Chelsea come up against debutants Rennes as well as Europa League winners Sevilla in Group E.

Chelsea signed goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes last week.

The group stage starts on October 20, and all six rounds of games will be crammed into eight weeks in a schedule that is even more packed than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This season’s final is scheduled to be staged in Istanbul, which was initially the host for last season’s final before UEFA was forced into a change of plans because of the health crisis.

It remains to be seen whether spectators will be able to attend matches in the group stage.

‘100 Is Not Enough’: Record-Breaking Ronaldo Vows To Score More For Portugal

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden's defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden's defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden’s defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden’s defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020, in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Multiple Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo wants to score more goals for the national team after he crossed the 100-goal mark for Portugal in a 2-0 win over Sweden, Tuesday.

The former Manchester United forward who is overjoyed on reaching the milestone, took to his social media handle to describe it as a “historic goal” for A Seleção.

READ ALSO: De Bruyne Wins PFA Player Of The Year

“Huge pride in this historical goal for our national team!” he wrote on Instagram on Tuesday evening. “When they tell me I can reach 100, I say it’s not enough…101 goals for Portugal.”

 

 

Record Chasing Brace

The 35-year-old Juventus attacker curled in a free-kick from 25 yards over the wall and into the far left corner beyond Sweden’s stranded goalkeeper Robin Olsen for a memorable milestone in his trophy-laden career.

The bonus second goal, and his 101st, came in the 72nd minute, with the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player cutting back inside the Swedish defence and producing a deft finish into the far corner from 20 yards.

After making his first senior international appearance as an 18-year-old in 2003, Ronaldo notched up his first goal for Portugal in a 2-1 defeat by eventual winners Greece at Euro 2004.

Ronaldo, capped 165 times by Portugal, is second only to Iran’s Ali Daei, on 109, in the list of top men’s international goal scorers.

Incredibly for Ronaldo, just 17 of his 100 goals have come in friendly matches, and his nine hat-tricks all came in FIFA or UEFA tournaments or qualifying games.

Portugal are leading Group 3 in League A, with the Sweden victory and massive 4-1 win over Croatia on Friday, giving them six points in two games played so far.

 

Chasing A Century, Ronaldo Hints At Return Against Sweden

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his team’s victory at the end of the UEFA Nations League final football match between Portugal and The Netherlands at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on June 9, 2019. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

 

Portuguese media and fans were on Monday anticipating Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100th international goal after the attacker hinted on social media that he was fit to return to face Sweden.

Ronaldo missed the opening game of his country’s Nations League defence against Croatia with a toe infection, but posted “happy to be back” on Instragram on Sunday, along with photos showing him training with the squad for the first time since last Tuesday.

Portugal play Sweden on Tuesday in Solna, the scene of a memorable Ronaldo display in the second leg of a World Cup qualifying playoff in 2013.

Ronaldo had scored the only goal in the first leg, and then exchanged goals with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the second. Ronaldo hit a hat-trick between the 50th and 79th minute while the Swedish star hit two in four minutes in the middle of the outburst. Portugal won the match and the playoff.

The 35-year-old Juventus star has now scored 99 international goals and is chasing the men’s record of 109 by Ali Daei of Iran.

Yet while Portuguese media were on Monday excited by the prospect, the emphatic 4-1 win over Croatia led some to suggest Portugal could free itself from its “Ronaldo-dependance”.

“Never has Portugal had so many quality attacking players,” wrote Manuel Queiroz in sports daily O Jogo, singling out Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United, Bernardo Silva of Manchester City and Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid. He added that the country has “a great deck of cards even without the fourth ace.”

Other publications praised Manchester City right back Joao Cancelo, who opened the scoring with a curling left-foot shot and others mentioned Ronaldo’s replacement Diogo Jota of Wolves.

AFP

Ronaldo Misses Second Training With Portugal After Foot Infection

File photo: Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Ukraine and Portugal at the NSK Olimpiyskyi stadium in Kyiv on October 14, 2019. Genya SAVILOV / AFP

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a second training session in a row with the Portugal squad on Thursday due to a foot problem ahead of Nations League matches against Croatia and Sweden.

“The national team captain… has an infection in his right foot and is undergoing treatment with antibiotics,” the Portuguese FA said in a statement.

Ronaldo, 35, was restricted to a gym session on Wednesday.

Lille midfielder Renato Sanches has been ruled out of his country’s first two Nations League games with an undisclosed injury.

European champions Portugal won the inaugural Nations League last year, beating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final in Porto.

They begin the new campaign at home to Croatia on Saturday before travelling to Sweden three days later.

AFP

Ronaldo Is First, Fastest Player To Score 50 Goals In Spain, Italy, England

A file photo of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.
A file photo of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is eyeing more records as Juventus head for Udinese on Thursday with a ninth consecutive Serie A title within their grasp.

Ronaldo scored a double on Monday against Lazio to bring his tally to 51 Serie A goals since arriving in Turin in July 2018.

The 35-year-old not only became the first player to achieve a half century of goals in Italy, Spain and England, but was also the fastest, doing so in 61 league games.

Last year the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored 21 goals in his first season in Italy, but thanks to his brace against Lazio he brought his tally to 30 this term, with four games remaining.

Another goal would see him match former Italy World Cup winner Felice Borel, who was the last player to score 31 goals for Juventus in the 1933-34 season.

For Ronaldo the title of top scorer — ‘Capocannoniere’ — is up for grabs, as he is currently level on 30 with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.

And he could even overtake Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, the top scorer in Europe with 34 goals in the Bundesliga this season.

 

File photo: Juventus’ Italian coach Maurizio Sarri looks on during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) round of 16 football match Juventus vs Udinese on January 15, 2020 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

 

There is also the record of Argentine teammate Gonzalo Higuain, who was Serie A top scorer under Sarri at Napoli in the 2015–16 season with 36 goals.

“Cristiano is unpredictable,” said Sarri. “If he puts his mind to something, he’s very determined.

“Not only physically, but, above all, mentally: he is a champion with his feet, but also with his head.”

– ‘Give your all’ –

 

“Very important victory! We’re almost there guys! Let’s go,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram after the Lazio game.

Juventus can seal the title with a win over 16th-placed Udinese, but it depends on Inter Milan, who are eight points behind the champions, losing to Fiorentina at the San Siro on Wednesday.

Otherwise they could win their 36th Scudetto on Sunday, at home against Sampdoria, giving Sarri, 61, his first league title.

It would allow them to start preparing for the Champions League, and overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit against French club Lyon in the last 16 next month.

“Juventus are still the best side in the league,” said Inter boss Antonio Conte, who coached the Turin side to the first three titles in their current run of league triumphs.

“They’re set to win their ninth Scudetto in a row. We can learn from them.

“We’ve got to keep trying to improve, to be more involved in the title race, so we can eventually get our hands on the Scudetto.”

 

 

File photo: Inter Milan’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte gives instructions during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match Inter Milan vs Slavia Prague on September 17, 2019 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. Marco Bertorello / AFP

 

Inter Milan, who have not won the title since their historic treble in 2010 under Jose Mourinho, are however assured of a Champions League place next season.

“It’s great that we’ve achieved this goal,” continued Conte, “it was one of the club’s main requests, to improve our results compared to previous seasons and to steady the ship so that things aren’t so hectic at the end of the season.”

Against Franck Ribery’s Fiorentina they were held 1-1 earlier this season, with the 12th-placed Tuscany side coming off back-to-back wins.

“They’ve got a good squad of players, they’re a good team and Giuseppe Iachini is doing a great job as coach,” added Conte.

“They’ll be unfazed by us, but when you’re up against Inter you always have the motivation to give your all.”

Lazio, in fourth, play at Cagliari after their league hopes were dashed at Juventus on Monday. They too are also poised to return to the Champions League after 13 years, as they are 11 points clear of fifth-placed Roma.

AFP

 

Ronaldo Scores As Juventus Thrash Lecce

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo shoots to score a penalty during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Lecce played on June 26, 2020 behind closed doors at the Juventus stadium in Turin, as the country eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Miguel MEDINA / AFP
Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo shoots to score a penalty during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Lecce played on June 26, 2020 behind closed doors at the Juventus stadium in Turin, as the country eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Miguel MEDINA / AFP

 

Juventus moved seven points clear at the top of Serie A on Friday after hammering struggling Lecce 4-0 in Turin and piling the pressure on title rivals Lazio.

A superb Paulo Dybala strike and Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty just after the hour mark made sure of the result at the Allianz Stadium before two late strikes from Gonzalo Higuain and Matthijs de Ligt completed the rout against a Lecce team who had to play for an hour with 10 men.

The away side meanwhile stay third-from-bottom, level on 25 points with Genoa a place above them and a point behind Sampdoria in 16th.

Juve started the match off the pace and while Adrien Rabiot forced a good save and Ronaldo flashed a powerful shot wide, Lecce comfortably kept the hosts at bay right until Fabio Lucioni got himself sent off.

The 32-year-old got tangled up on the ball under no pressure on the half way line and then clumsily bundled over Rodrigo Bentancur.

Maurizio Sarri’s team were still below their best but should have been at least a goal up at half-time after Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi both blazed over from point-blank range just before the break.

Juve pressed ahead after the restart, with Leonardo Bonucci’s header forcing a smart stop from Lecce keeper Gabriel and Dybala whipping a curling effort just wide.

Argentine Dybala was not to be denied however, when he picked the ball up on the edge of the area in the 53rd minute and crashed a high shot home to break brave Lecce’s resistance.

Ronaldo then bagged his goal from the spot in the 62nd minute after being tripped by Luca Rossettini.

However the Portuguese will be kicking himself that he didn’t come away from this game with more goals after missing several presentable chances.

By that time Lecce were playing for damage limitation but two quickfire goals made the scoreline a more accurate representation of the balance of play.

Higuain, who had already gone close just seconds after being brought on as a 77th-minute substitute, pounced on Ronaldo’s deflected backheel with seven minutes left before sweeping a fine left-footed finish high over Gabriel.

Dutchman de Ligt then bundled home the fourth two minutes later, stooping low to head in Douglas Costa’s whipped cross from the right to leave Lazio having to win their home clash with Fiorentina on Saturday evening to cut the gap back to four points.

 

AFP