Ronaldo '1,000%' sure of staying

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri embracing Cristiano Ronaldo, both with their heads covered in foam, after the Italian club sealed their eighth consecutive Serie A championship on Saturday.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri embracing Cristiano Ronaldo, both with their heads covered in foam, after the Italian club sealed their eighth consecutive Serie A championship on Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MILAN • Cristiano Ronaldo said he was "1,000 per cent committed to staying" with Juventus next season as he claimed his first Italian Serie A title and Juve their eighth in a row on Saturday.

Massimiliano Allegri's side had needed just one more point for a 35th Scudetto and their latest title triumph helped ease some of the pain of their shock Champions League exit at the Juventus Stadium to Ajax last Tuesday.

A come-from-behind 2-1 win over Fiorentina was enough to give them a 20-point lead on nearest rivals Napoli with five games to play.

Serbian defender Nikola Milenkovic put Fiorentina ahead, but Alex Sandro's diving header and an own goal from Fiorentina defender German Pezzella after a Ronaldo cross in the 53rd minute sealed another title to ease their European disappointment.

"It was a great season and I adapted well. We won the Scudetto and the Italian Super Cup, which is not easy to achieve," said Ronaldo.

"It didn't go well in the Champions League. Next year is a new page, the fans all want it and so do we. I'm staying at Juve, 1,000 per cent."

It was the 34-year-old's sixth domestic league title, having won three with Manchester United and two with Real Madrid, as he becomes the first player to win the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A.

Juventus bought the five-time Ballon d'Or winner for €100 million (S$152 million) last summer.

He has scored 19 goals and dished out six assists, and is in the running for the top-scorer award along with Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella (22) and AC Milan's Krzysztof Piatek (21).

Juventus have lost only two matches, against Genoa and Spal, with 28 wins and three draws. Their eight straight title also sees them overtake French club Lyon for the record of consecutive victories in the top five European leagues.

"I'm very happy because we've achieved an important goal," said Allegri, who becomes the first coach to win five straight Serie A titles.

He has six in total, having also won with AC Milan, one behind Giovanni Trapattoni, who has seven.

"We had an amazing season and we won 50 per cent of the competitions we participated in. Of course, we are disappointed by the elimination of Tuesday, but a title is celebrated. We won it five games from the end and that's all about what the lads did on the pitch," he said.

Juventus also equalled the record for the earliest the title has been won, with five games to spare, a feat achieved by Torino (1948), Fiorentina (1956) and Inter Milan (2007).

"We were greatly disappointed this week, but now it's time to party," said defender Giorgio Chiellini. "And we have to continue to progress and work, it's the only way we know at Juventus."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2019, with the headline 'Ronaldo '1,000%' sure of staying'. Print Edition | Subscribe