Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus boss issues warning to star ahead of Old Trafford return | Football | Sport
His celebration that night in 2013 was muted when wearing the colours of Real Madrid – and it will probably be the same if he scores on Tuesday for his new club Juventus.
Another winning goal would have a dramatic impact, not just for United but for English football in general.
Victory would put Juventus well clear at the top of Group H and leave United scrambling to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.
It could also knock England down into third place in the UEFA club rankings behind Italy – a drop that seemed inconceivable for so long.
Spain are top by a huge margin but England have a minuscule advantage over Italy at present – a coefficient of 67.748 to Italy’s 67.725. These are based on club performances over five seasons, and are adjusted after every round of matches.
Dropping to third would be official acknowledgement of English clubs’ dismal downward turn in Europe and of Italy’s rise.
The arrival of Ronaldo at Juventus for £99million in July has increased the sense of excitement and ambition over there – and perhaps explains the apparent desire of United striker Romelu Lukaku expressed last week to join Juve next.
Juventus have reached the Champions League Final in two of the last four years and believe Ronaldo is the crucial missing piece in their bid to lift the trophy.
Should he do so, Ronaldo would become only the second player, after Clarence Seedorf, to win the trophy with three clubs and would add another layer of lustre to his career. He has been top scorer in the competition for an astonishing six consecutive seasons and is its all-time top marksman with 120 goals, netted in just 153 matches.
Juventus have made a strong start in Serie A with their new superstar and are clear favourites with bookmakers to earn victory against United, despite playing away.
However, manager Max Allegri has warned his team against over-confidence.
He said: “Everyone says we will win all of our league and Champions League matches from here to June but it’s not like that.
“I told the boys this is a moment when too much positivity lowers our energy. We have to keep a low profile and concentrate on work.”
A low profile may be verging on impossible with Ronaldo in your team but Allegri says his superstar is a dream in the dressing room, which also contains mighty defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini as well as rising
Argentine striker Paulo Dybala.
“Cristiano is very calm and working well,” said the Juventus boss.
“He has been very humble, and has brought even more focus and a sense of responsibility to the team.
“Besides scoring goals, which he does best, he’s also great at providing assists.”
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho knows that only too well. He was Ronaldo’s manager at Real Madrid on that last trip to Old Trafford in 2013.