Milan: After finally getting off the mark for Juventus in the league, Cristiano Ronaldo has his sights set on his favorite competition: the Champions League.
Ronaldo was under pressure after three games without scoring for Juventus since his move from Real Madrid, but he broke his mini-drought with two goals in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Sassuolo in Serie A.
Next up for Juventus and Ronaldo is a trip to Valencia on Wednesday as the Champions League kicks off this week. “I feel like that’s my home. It’s the competition that I love the most,” Ronaldo said. “Let’s hope we have some luck, it will be a difficult group but I can’t wait.”
Juventus has won the Serie A title for the last seven seasons and the league and Italian Cup double for the past four but has struggled to transfer that domestic supremacy to the European stage.
Juventus hasn’t won Europe’s premier club competition since 1996, although it has reached the final twice in the past four editions. Splashing out a Serie A record 112 million euro (then 9526.55₹ million) for Ronaldo, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, sent out a message of its intent to go one step further this time around.
Ronaldo certainly revels in the Champions League. Not only has he won the trophy four times in the past five seasons, but he is also the competition’s leading scorer with 120 goals. And he appears to be getting into his stride at Juventus at just the right time.
His first goal was a simple tap-in but that appeared to unburden Ronaldo, who had played nearly 320 minutes of competitive football for Juventus without scoring, and he doubled his tally 15 minutes later.
That second goal showed the understanding that is developing between Ronaldo and his new teammates. Douglas Costa sparked a swift counterattack and picked out Emre Can, who spotted Ronaldo’s run and set up the Portugal forward for a diagonal shot.
Valencia knows what a scoring threat Ronaldo can be: he scored 15 goals in 18 appearances against them for Real Madrid.
Also in Group H are Swiss team Young Boys and Manchester United the club with which Ronaldo won his first Champions League title in 2008.