Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to be the missing piece of the jigsaw for Juventus in their quest to regain the Summit of Europe for the first time since 1995-96, the Italian club splashing out 117 million euros to bring the five-times winner of the continents elite club competition to Turin last summer.
But after Juves 2-0 defeat at Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the last 16 clash between the sides, the Serie A clubs ambitions hang by a thread. Runners-up five times since their last triumph, Juve will have to score at least twice without reply in the Allianz Stadium to take the tie to extra-time, but the Italian media have been busy collating Ronaldos statistics in the competition – and against the LaLiga side – and speculating an extra half-hour may not be necessary.
Tuttosport ran a headline sounding a rallying cry for the Old Lady: Juve? Coming back from 2-0 down? Cristiano has already done it…” in allusion to the 2015-16 Champions League when Wolfsburg took a 2-0 advantage to the Bernabéu and Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick to turn the tie around.
Ronaldo to the rescue?
The Portugueses statistics in the competition also make for impressive reading. Ronaldo has scored twice or more in a Champions League game 34 times, with 27 doubles, six hat-tricks and a four-goal haul against Malmö.
Against Atlético, Ronaldo has 22 goals, including three hat-tricks and one brace. One of those hat-tricks came in the Champions League, in the 2016-17 semi-finals.
However, Under Diego Simeone, Atlético have never lost a Champions League tie after triumphing in the opening leg. Juventus, meanwhile, have never overturned a 2-0 deficit in European competition home or away.
If Ronaldo is to save the day for Juve, he will need to write another piece of history in Turin on March 13.