Tuesday was arguably the worst day in recent memory for 19 Serie A clubs.
Cristiano Ronaldo is officially a Juventus player, and while that’s fantastic news for Bianconeri fans, it’s an awful development for the Italian sides that were hoping to end Juventus’ seven-year run of Scudettos.
Related: How does Real Madrid fill the massive void left by Ronaldo’s departure?
In order to maximise his potential with his new club, here are five ways Juventus could line up with Ronaldo in the ranks.
Higuain out, CR7 in
While nothing’s been confirmed, it’s tough to imagine Juventus will have the tactical flexibility to employ both Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain up top. If that’s the case, the 33-year-old will likely replace Higuain as Juventus’ main target man.
The idea of Paulo Dybala playing just off Ronaldo is a fearsome thought, but defenders will have so much more to deal with if Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado are tearing up the flanks and peppering a waiting Ronaldo with crosses.
Pair him with Pipita anyway
Though Ronaldo hinted at a Real Madrid exit, no one predicted Juventus would be a viable destination, so maybe he’ll also surprise us by coexisting with Higuain.
Under a 4-4-2, Miralem Pjanic and newcomer Emre Can would shore up the deeper midfield while Dybala and Blaise Matuidi operate in more advanced positions or drift outside to retain possession. Though it’s not Matuidi’s familiar role from last season with Juventus, the 31-year-old excelled on the left with France at the World Cup, and this gives Massimiliano Allegri’s men two targets in the box, though crosses would mostly be the responsibility of full-backs Joao Cancelo and Alex Sandro.
If Higuain ultimately is pushed out by Ronaldo’s arrival, the indefatigable Mario Mandzukic would also be a welcome combination with Ronaldo up top.
3 at the back
Last season, Juventus shied away somewhat from operating with a three-man defence, though the introduction of Joao Cancelo on the right gives them a more threatening presence at wing-back than the departed Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Playing with three at the back also makes the Old Lady incredibly difficult to predict going forward. Dybala sitting behind two strikers is menacing enough, but giving Sandro and Cancelo the freedom to bomb forward also makes Juventus a serious threat on the wings.
Bringing in Ronaldo places the Bianconeri at a crossroads; after seven consecutive Scudettos, should Allegri continue with what has brought so much success, or should he integrate his new superstar by tweaking his set-up to match what brought out the best in Ronaldo at Real Madrid?
If Allegri chooses the latter, Dybala would have big shoes to fill as he tries to replicate what Isco does so well in the Spanish capital, while Ronaldo continues to shine as one of the greatest poachers in the world.
Ronaldo back to the wing?
For all of his heralded finishing capability, Ronaldo may ultimately make the biggest impact for Juventus in a throwback role.
Though Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer has excelled in recent years as he’s transitioned from a traditional winger to a more out-and-out striker, Ronaldo is still more than capable at playing on the left, as he did at times for Portugal during its short time at the World Cup.
Moving him away from the centre removes the risk of leaving the superstar on an island, and working alongside Dybala and Mandzukic will provide Ronaldo plenty of opportunities to catch opposing centre-backs off guard when he inevitably cuts inside.
(Photos courtesy: ShareMyTactics)