Ron fined €19m, first Juve game at Chievo

ROME • Cristiano Ronaldo's Italian job will start at troubled Chievo when Serie A kicks off on the weekend of Aug 18, with his new club, Juventus, bidding for a record eighth straight league title.

The fixture list for the 2018-19 season of the Italian championship was announced on Thursday with all eyes on where the superstar attacker, signed for €100 million (S$160 million) from European champions Real Madrid earlier this month, would begin what he called "a new adventure".

The 33-year-old's time in the Spanish capital saw him win numerous trophies and personal accolades but was also not without controversy.

On Thursday, Ronaldo received a two-year prison sentence, almost certain to be suspended, and a fine of nearly €19 million after pleading guilty to four charges of tax evasion between 2011 and 2014 worth a total of €14.7 million.

His four-year deal will earn him a reported €30 million a season at Juventus. The Turin giants are strong favourites to further cement their domestic dominance, with their main rivals in a transition period.

Napoli, who finished four points behind Juve last year, will be a different prospect from the free-flowing purists of recent years after replacing new Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri with Carlo Ancelotti, a double winner with the Premier League club in 2010.

Ancelotti begins his new job with a tough away trip to Lazio before hosting his former club, AC Milan, themselves hoping to rebuild after being taken over by American hedge fund Elliott Management this month.

This occurred after the club's former Chinese owners, long rumoured to be struggling financially, failed to repay €32 million lent by Elliott to finance the final instalment of two capital increases worth a total of €120 million.

Ronaldo could be joined by a familiar face at Juventus, after Milan's new sporting director Leonardo said on Thursday that team captain Leonardo Bonucci wants to return to the side after just one season in Milan.

The Rossoneri could only finish sixth last season despite spending more than €200 million on players last summer, including €42 million on Italy centre-back Bonucci.

"I've met a range of clubs, including Juventus," Brazilian Leonardo said at a press conference in which he was unveiled in his new role.

"The desire (to talk to Juve) came from him, so if the conditions are right, we'll try to make it happen."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2018, with the headline 'Ron fined €19m, first Juve game at Chievo'. Print Edition | Subscribe