Ronaldo recently sealed a second successive Scudetto with Juventus, top-scoring with 31 Serie A goals and tying the Turin club’s all-time record tally for a single league campaign.
But despite that feat the 35-year-old serial winner has endured frustrations during a season in which he struggled with injury for spells and in which Juventus stumbled over the finish line rather than ran away with the title in the dominant fashion they have become accustomed to in previous seasons.
For a period in October and November there were reports of particularly strained relations between Ronaldo and new Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri, who took the seemingly unthinkable step of substituting the forward two games in a row as the Portuguese star struggled for form and fitness.
According to a report in France Football – the respected magazine which has awarded Ronaldo five Ballon d’Or accolades for the world’s best player – Ronaldo’s grievances became so apparent after a labored 2-1 Champions League win against Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow in Turin on October 22 that the Portuguese star contemplated a move to PSG.
The ‘grumpy’ star was reportedly unhappy that the Juventus team appeared unable to provide him with the kind of platform he needed to add to his five Champions League triumphs, to such an extent that he “dreamed of an association with Neymar, to whom he is close, or Mbappé, whom he adores.
“In the entourage very close to the player, it was recently estimated as ‘very probable’ of the chances of departure of CR7 before (the coronavirus) confinement (began),” the report adds, noting however that the Covid-19 crisis has meant any kind of big-money move for Ronaldo would now be firmly off the table.
Ronaldo’s frustrations earlier in the season appeared increasingly evident, in particular after he was substituted during the second Champions League game with Lokomotiv in Moscow in November, and then days later reportedly stormed out of the stadium before the game had even finished when he was hooked off in the 55th minute of the Serie A clash with AC Milan.
Juventus boss Sarri attempted to smooth things over by stating that the forward was simply struggling with a lingering knee injury, only for Ronaldo himself to dismiss that idea when on duty with Portugal and stating that he was “very well.”
Any differences appear to have been patched up however, as Ronaldo went on a fine scoring run after the resumption of football in Italy, netting 10 times in 11 games at the close of the campaign.
Posting on Instagram after Juventus celebrated a ninth straight Scudetto and a second personal Italian league title, Ronaldo wrote what he wanted to “go for my third.”
Ronaldo’s ultimate satisfaction at the club will likely be judged not on the domestic front but rather in Europe, where Juventus have gone more than two decades without a Champions League title.
They will try to rectify that when they host French team Lyon in their last 16 second leg on Friday, but will need to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first meeting.
Overcome Lyon and a daunting tie against Manchester City or Ronaldo’s former club Real Madrid awaits in the quarter-finals.