Former Italy striker Antonio Cassano has doubled down on his criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo, branding the Portugal superstar a “failure” and a “big problem” for Juventus.
Cassano first took aim at Ronaldo after Juve’s shock 2-1 defeat at Porto in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
“Juventus signed him to win the Champions League, but they’ve done worse with him than they’ve done before,” he told Corriere dello Sport.
“They’d also won the Scudetto [Serie A title] without him. I think he’s been a failure.”
Cassano was somewhat vindicated as Porto went on to eliminate Juventus from the Champions League on away goals after a pulsating second leg in Turin.
The result cast doubt over Ronaldo’s future with Juventus, as he has just over one year remaining on his deal.
The Bianconeri’s chief football officer, Fabio Paratici, recently declared the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is going nowhere. But Cassano insisted this will hinder Juventus going forward in another withering assessment.
“If you have chosen the path of [playing a certain type of] football, Ronaldo is not good,” the former Real Madrid striker told former Italy teammate Christian Vieri on Twitch.
Is Cassano’s criticism of Ronaldo fair? Have your say in the comments.
“He is someone you have to give the ball to and he scores, thinking about his records. Ronaldo is not what he was four years ago.
“They signed him to win the Champions League and they failed. [Andrea] Pirlo, as a coach, is a rookie and he hasn’t got the experience to handle the player with the highest media profile in the world on his team because he can create problems for you.
“[Dejan] Kulusevski, for example, is very conditioned by Ronaldo, he is not free, he is always looking for him. If you have young people without a strong mentality then problems arise.”
Cassano also accused Ronaldo of having a major role in the exits of former Juventus managers Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
He added: “Juventus got rid of a coach [Allegri] who, in the last 20 or 30 years, has produced the best football in Italy and his big problem was one: Cristiano Ronaldo. It was for [Maurizio] Sarri and it is for Pirlo.
“Juve already got burned last year, because Sarri was unable to find the right chemistry with him and some other players and what do you do? You take another coach who would like to play football and you still have Cristiano Ronaldo as a blocker for that.”
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