On February 5, 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo turned 36.
On February 6, 2021, he put on another masterful display for Juventus, doing what he has done best for almost 20 years.
I Bianconeri faced an organized and dangerous AS Roma side on Saturday afternoon knowing they had to win to maintain their dwindling hopes of winning an incredible tenth straight Serie A title.
The current champions have looked far from convincing at times this season and have had to rely on luck or individual brilliance to get them through the tightest games against their rivals.
Sometimes that was not enough. But Saturday’s battle with an offensive team from Giallorossi was one of those occasions where a man delivered when his teammates needed him most – as he has done endlessly throughout his career. .
Ronaldo, 36, was in good shape against Paulo Fonseca’s men, delivering a masterclass in attacking movement and finishing clinical in their 2-0 victory.
The Portuguese superstar only needed 13 minutes to organize his birthday celebrations, and he did it in style. The attacker received the ball just outside the penalty area, slightly to the left of center, and he kicked off with his left foot from a stationary position with little rear lift.
The shot lacked its usual venom and power, but what it lacked in speed it made up for in accuracy. He arrowed to the far corner and took goalkeeper Pau Lopez by surprise, so much so that he couldn’t intercept his path.
Ronaldo walked away in celebration, smiling and screaming as if this was the first goal of his majestic career. But as if to embody his unquenchable thirst for success, he refuses to rest on his laurels and admire his work.
In fact, he was almost there again a few minutes later. The forward used all his cunning and experience to drift out of sight of his marker and suddenly shoot to the right, and he was expertly picked by a teammate. Ronaldo took a touch to stabilize himself, then threw a breakthrough strike towards the far corner.
This time, no dice. Marash Kumbulla is about to get back into place and has a long leg stuck in the path of the shot, deflecting him into the ground and onto the crossbar. So, so close. His last major act of the first half was to prick Lopez’s palms with another burner, threatening to punish the Roma any time they dared to leave him half-unattended.
This initial effort separated the two teams at half-time and gave Juve the license to play the game at their own pace.
Ronaldo was limited to fewer touches and more isolation in the second half, as Roma dominated the ball in search of an equalizer. But he was instrumental in the killer’s winning goal – his very presence alone proved enough to force Roger Ibanez to push Dejan Kulusevski’s cross into his own net.
However, that relentless desire for perfection spread in the second half and Ronaldo was given a yellow card for overzealous protests against a decision he didn’t like. It wouldn’t be Ronaldo without this childish petulance, right?
In the end, it was a whopping three points for Juventus, who put pressure on Milan to take over from Crotone on Sunday. And as always, it was this man Cristiano who made the difference for the champions.
This winning mentality grows with each additional candle their talisman puts out each year – it could continue for another decade.