Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri impressed by 'ease' of seamless Cristiano Ronaldo debut

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Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri was wowed by the “ease” of Cristiano Ronaldo’s acclimatisation as his Serie A debut ended with a 3-2 win against Chievo.

All eyes were on the Portugal forward following his €100 million (Dh420.5m) summer transfer from Real Madrid – but it needed a team effort from the defending champions to secure three points in Verona.

Sami Khedira put the visitors in front after just three minutes, before Mariusz Stepinski equalised with a towering header.

Chievo went 2-1 ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half through a penalty from former Juve winger Emanuele Giaccherini, before an own goal from defender Mattia Bani levelled things up again.

Substitute Mario Mandzukic thought he had won it with a late header, given by goalline technology, only for the effort to be ruled out following a referral by the Video Assistant Referee.

The decision, following a lengthy review on the pitchside monitor by Fabrizio Pasqua, appeared to be for a handball from Ronaldo in the build-up, which saw Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino take a heavy blow and eventually need to be replaced.

Juve, though, showed the spirit of champions to score a legitimate winner deep into five minutes of stoppage time when Bernardeschi turned in a low cross from Alex Sandro.

“Cristiano held up well on his debut, it’s a pity he didn’t score but he worked well with the team after only seven days together,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“I was struck by how at ease he was in the team, he was very happy with the win at the end, he had a good match.

“It’s a victory that we needed, to get us into the championship.”

Ronaldo’s eight attempts on goal was the most by any Juve players. His new employers will hope to see this statistic soon reflected in the goals-scored column.

“We let our focus dip after the first goal, we thought we had the match in the bag,” said Allegri.

“Ronaldo had several shots on target today, Sorrentino made several saves, there were also some good movements that were not rewarded by the midfielders.

“He pulled a lot, he moved between the lines, but he was not being served on several occasions.

“We were caught napping on the equaliser and did better with Bernardeschi and Mandzukic coming on towards the end,” added Allegri.

“We need to find balance, but the most important thing is not to fall asleep when we’re doing well.”

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Serie A must wait to see best of Cristiano Ronaldo and other Juventus talking points

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Serie A debut for Juventus ended in a thrilling 3-2 victory at Chievo, thanks to a stoppage-time goal from substitute Federico Bernardeschi.

Sami Khedira put the visitors in front after just three minutes, before Mariusz Stepinski equalised with a towering header.

Chievo went 2-1 ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half through ex-Juve winger Emanuele Giaccherini’s penalty, before an own goal from defender Mattia Bani levelled things up again.

Mario Mandzukic’s header was ruled out after extensive video review, after which Juve showed the spirit of champions to score a legitimate winner deep into five minutes of stoppage time when Bernardeschi turned in a low cross from Alex Sandro.

RONALDO’S WAITING GAME

The logic was clear when Juve broke with all accepted norms to snare Ronaldo for €100 million (Dh420.5m) from Real Madrid.

This was the superstar addition to extrapolate the seven-times-successive champions’ domestic hegemony to the continental stage.

Tactically, this would not come at great cost. The Portugal icon was simply a premium version of Gonzalo Higuain.

Of Ronaldo’s leading eight attempts, he only seriously threatened in the second half with a curled effort and free-kick. His 57 touches was the third-lowest of any outfield Juve starter.

Ronaldo’s flash of stepovers and ‘spaghetti’ hair caught the attention for Manchester United on his Premier League debut 15 years ago. The first of 311 La Liga goals came from the penalty spot in his bow for Madrid.

This time, he played no part in Juve’s three allowed goals. Calcio fans, unsurprisingly, await to see his best.

OLD LADY’S NEW GROOVE

Genuine excitement greeted the Juve XI.

It wasn’t just the Ronaldo effect, or the beginning of another title defence.

Head coach Massimiliano Allegri showed real attacking endeavour with his selection. From full-backs Sandro and Joao Cancelo tasked with providing ceaseless width, to Argentina forward Paulo Dybala pulling the strings behind a front three of Brazil winger Douglas Costa, centre forward Ronaldo and Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado.

A trio of goals came on the opening weekend from 26 attempts. Much, much more should follow.

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BONUCCI’S EVENTFUL RETURN

A familiar face took its place at the heart of Juve’s backline.

After an uncertain season exiled at AC Milan, Leonardo Bonucci was back for the Old Lady.

Sheen to this storyline at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi was provided when his presence forced Bani’s misdeed to equalise at 2-2.

But Allegri – the cause of his 2017 exit – will concentrate on the alarming gap Stepinski stepped into between the returning star and Giorgio Chiellini to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

Defending as a pair, seemingly, isn’t like riding a bike.

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Claudio Marchisio leaves Juventus by mutual consent after 25 years

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Claudio Marchisio has left Juventus following a 25-year association with the Serie A club.

The 32-year-old midfielder, who entered the Juve academy as a seven-year-old in 1993 and made his senior debut in 2005, has mutually rescinded his contract with the Italian champions.

Turin-born Marchisio, battling injuries, struggled to play regularly for the Bianconeri across the last two seasons but leaves with a haul of seven Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia trophies.

He made his Juventus breakthrough following their demotion to Serie B and in 2007 he helped the team secure promotion back to the top flight alongside the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero.

A season on loan at Empoli followed, but Marchisio’s influence grew steadily once he returned to Turin.

Juventus announced Marchisio’s departure in a statement on their official website, thanking him for his contribution over 389 appearances, across which he scored 37 goals.

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