Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th goal for Juventus on Wednesday night, but his future with the Italian club remains unclear.
Ronaldo netted the second goal for Juve in a 3-1 win over Sassuolo. In doing so, he became the first player ever to score 100 goals for clubs in three different countries. He previously managed the feat with Manchester United and Real Madrid as well.
The achievement added to his legendary status. Even at the age of 36, he is still going strong.
But how long Juventus will continue to benefit from his talents is in question. Fifth in the Serie A table with two games to go, there is a genuine risk that they could miss out on the Champions League.
That would be quite the fall from grace after winning the previous nine Serie A titles in a row. But now, they need things to go their way to avoid dropping out of Europe’s top competition.
If they miss out, it may lead to more speculation about Ronaldo’s future. He is only under contract for one more year and Juventus may have to cut costs.
There have been rumours of a return to Real Madrid or even Manchester United. Paris Saint-Germain would also apparently be willing to offer him a new adventure.
But a perhaps more surprising option for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would be to return to where it all started. Sporting CP have just won the Portuguese title and could welcome their academy graduate back for an emotional reunion.
That seems to be the move his mother wants him to make – but maybe not straight away.
“I will talk to him and try to convince him to return next year,” Dolores Aveiro said (via TVI 24). “To the Alvalade Stadium and to wear the colours of Sporting.”
Pirlo reacts to Juventus win
Meanwhile, Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo promised that the club would give their all for the rest of the season.
Former midfielder Pirlo was a surprise appointment to replace Maurizio Sarri last summer. If he fails to reach the top four, his position will be under serious scrutiny.
But he seems willing to fight to the end after their win over Sassuolo.
“It wasn’t easy to bounce back after last weekend but now we’ll go all out in our remaining matches,” he said. “It was tough tonight because Sassuolo like to get lots of numbers forward but our stars stepped up to win us the game.
“We’ve really missed [last goalscorer Paulo] Dybala. We’ve only had him on and off and now he needs to get minutes under his belt.
“We’ve caused problems for ourselves lately with individual errors. It’s a shame because you can’t afford to make the slightest mistake at Juve.
“There have been lots of times this season when we haven’t been fully focused. The mental side is crucial and we got it spot on tonight.
“Now we have to rest a bit and then we’ll think about Inter. We’re still alive and kicking. It won’t be easy but we’ll keep fighting till the end.”
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