SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts

Cristiano Ronaldo shines as Juventus outclasses Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo was the last player to leave the Old Trafford pitch, serenaded as he made his way to the t...

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 11:52 AM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 11:52 AM

Cristiano Ronaldo was the last player to leave the Old Trafford pitch, serenaded as he made his way to the tunnel by the Manchester United fans who had remained with a rendition of "Viva Ronaldo," the adaptation of the Elvis riff once commonplace on these terraces a decade or so ago.

The Juventus star had not played on the ground where he first made his name since the Sir Alex Ferguson years. On this floodlit Champions League night in England's north-west, he was warmly welcomed.

Arenas and stadiums

Cristiano Ronaldo

Football (Soccer)

Old Trafford

Points of interest

Soccer events

Sports and recreation

Sports events

Sports figures

UEFA Champions League

Sports organizations and teams

Serie A

Juventus FC

Premier League

Manchester United FC

Paulo Dybala

Street sellers sold scarves with his images and the words 'The Legend Returns' and, as he appeared for the warm-up, both sets of fans scattered inside the stadium applauded. Even after the final whistle a pitch-invader appeared to take a selfie with the former United player. He is seemingly still admired.

READ: Jose Mourinho says his 'future' is at Manchester United

READ: Ronaldo on rape claim - I'm a 'happy man' and my lawyers are confident

To the United fans who remember better times, the presence of their former No.7 and his contribution to the Italians' 1-0 victory was a stark reminder of those Ferguson years, when winning with flair, accumulating trophies and going toe-to-toe with Europe's most accomplished sides was routine.

Images of the Portuguese still adorn the corridors of Old Trafford, his record during his six-year spell at the club testimony as to why -- 118 goals in 292 appearances, three league titles, a Champions League crown and extraordinary displays which elevated his status to the greatest the English Premier League has seen.

But things are different now. The Red Devils are not the force they were, while Ronaldo is much changed from the player who dazzled with a repertoire of tricks, wreaking havoc from the wing, mesmerizing with his invention and craft, during his United years.

Since his then world record move to Real Madrid in 2009, the forward has become more efficient and ruthless. He is one of the greatest to have played the game.

It was the 33-year-old's cross which led to Paulo Dybala goal, securing a victory which puts Juventus in command of Group H and needing just a point to progress from the group.

Ronaldo made his Old Trafford return with a rape allegation from 2009, which the forward has strongly denied, hanging over him and this fixture.

All eyes were on the Portuguese, but he wasn't the only player in monochrome to shine as the Italians justified their status as one of the favorites to win Europe's premier club competition with a dominant display.

The hosts had just two shots on target over 90 minutes. United came closest to scoring when Paul Pogba's shot hit the post after the break, but a leveler would have been undeserved.

At one point in the first half, Juventus enjoyed over 75% of possession and had restricted United to just one touch inside its penalty area. The stats did not improve much for United after the break -- the English club ended the night with 39% possession and manager Jose Mourinho admitting that the Italians were at a "different level."

READ: Lionel Messi out for a month with arm injury

United had no-one of Ronaldo's ilk on the pitch, but neither did Mourinho's men have anyone as threatening as Dybala, or as commanding as Giorgio Chiellini. No-one in red drove at the opposition like Joao Cancelo or set the tempo like Rodrigo Bentancur.

But it is Ronaldo who will dominate the headlines, because he always does.

In the opening minutes he roved around the left, drawing a foul from Ashley Young -- the first of plenty during the 90 minutes -- and there were flicks and backheels to remind the home supporters of those electrifying years in red.

Juventus' No.7 was free to roam wherever he sniffed danger and it was from the right wing where he caused damage in the 17th minute, his low cross from the right finding the impressive Dybala, who side-footed home for his fourth Champions League goal of the season.

The Argentine could have added to his tally in the opening 45 minutes -- heading wide and drawing a save from David de Gea with a drilled effort across goal, while Ronaldo went close from distance after the break, forcing a fine fingertip save from the Spaniard.

During his first few months in Turin, Ronaldo has yet to reach the standards he set in Manchester and Madrid. But he has scored five goals for his new club and in his biggest match since his summer move added much to Juventus' attack.

In truth. for all his footballing qualities, Ronaldo was bought by the Italian champions for a club record $117 million for his global appeal off the pitch as much as his genius on it. The Italians spent big on a player entering the final chapters of his career to propel them into football's financial big league.

According to Deloitte, Juventus is the world's 10th richest football club -- its overall income $311 million lower than Tuesday's opponents.

The allegation that Ronaldo raped a woman in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009, now subject of both a criminal investigation and a civil suit, had not emerged when he was purchased in July.

Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing -- during Monday's news conference he cut a relaxed figure and described himself as a "happy man" who was certain that the truth would come out -- but there has been fallout.

Earlier this month Nike said it was "deeply concerned" with the allegation made against a player with whom the company has a reported billion-dollar sponsorship deal, while shares in the Serie A club have plummeted.

It was not the sort of global spotlight Andrea Agnelli had envisioned when making his huge investment.

Visit cnn.com/football for more news and videos

But even last week, the Juve president said: "Juve is not just Ronaldo: it's a collective. CR7 is a cherry in something that has been built one piece after the other, with patience, intelligence and much more."

The acquisition of Ronaldo could be the key to the Italian giants finally winning European club football's top prize after a 22-year wait.

Despite competing in nine finals -- a total surpassed by only Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich -- Juve has only won the title twice. On this showing, the Italians are justifiably favorites to claim the crown they covet most.

Huntsville
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 60°
Florence
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 66°
Fayetteville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 61°
Scottsboro
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 49°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530744

Reported Deaths: 10978
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson764931522
Mobile40959804
Madison34735503
Tuscaloosa25749452
Montgomery24327589
Shelby23425249
Baldwin21123308
Lee15873171
Calhoun14496314
Morgan14288279
Etowah13826353
Marshall12213223
Houston10561281
Elmore10052205
Limestone9958151
Cullman9659193
St. Clair9652243
Lauderdale9420241
DeKalb8828186
Talladega8220176
Walker7231277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6809112
Blount6656137
Colbert6296134
Coffee5509119
Dale4830111
Russell440738
Chilton4284112
Franklin425682
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4026152
Escambia393376
Chambers3560123
Dallas3547151
Clarke351061
Marion3116101
Pike310877
Lawrence300298
Winston274272
Bibb260564
Marengo249664
Geneva249477
Pickens234361
Barbour230757
Hale222877
Butler215969
Fayette212262
Henry188744
Cherokee184645
Randolph180141
Monroe177340
Washington167239
Macon158950
Clay156156
Crenshaw152257
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138753
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110329
Perry107526
Coosa107228
Sumter104432
Greene92334
Choctaw60624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 852841

Reported Deaths: 12255
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby956561619
Davidson89355933
Knox50675635
Hamilton44280494
Rutherford43046434
Williamson28015217
Sumner24012349
Montgomery20255225
Wilson18804234
Out of TN1840797
Unassigned16998134
Sullivan16794294
Blount15490193
Bradley15032150
Washington14597245
Maury13499172
Sevier13391175
Putnam11396175
Madison11168242
Robertson9756131
Anderson8760172
Hamblen8610173
Greene7877155
Tipton7359103
Coffee6905121
Dickson6840110
Cumberland6734132
Carter6634158
Gibson6526146
McMinn650898
Bedford6506128
Roane6282105
Jefferson6211124
Loudon613069
Hawkins6077107
Lawrence593887
Monroe584095
Warren554881
Dyer5425106
Franklin515090
Fayette506877
Cheatham455355
Obion454196
Cocke450099
Lincoln435763
Rhea434875
Marshall419058
Campbell415463
Weakley412865
Giles3996100
Henderson378976
White364170
Macon361978
Carroll361683
Hardin357167
Hardeman352664
Lauderdale318944
Henry318576
Claiborne318273
Marion312347
Scott312345
Overton301161
Wayne296334
Hickman284046
McNairy282054
DeKalb279654
Smith277839
Haywood271162
Grainger262850
Morgan250139
Trousdale250122
Fentress241547
Johnson240739
Chester214351
Bledsoe214211
Polk207824
Unicoi203549
Crockett203248
Cannon192031
Union190734
Humphreys179927
Grundy179334
Lake170326
Sequatchie169829
Benton166540
Decatur158639
Lewis158126
Meigs139125
Stewart132528
Jackson132036
Clay110131
Houston109333
Perry106628
Moore101117
Van Buren84723
Pickett76024
Hancock58912

Community Events