It’s weird to think of Juventus being without Gianluigi Buffon, but as one modern icon of football leaves Turin, another arrives, as the Old Lady have made a major summer statement.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid, having fired them to the last three Champions League crowns including one at the expense of Juve in 2017, leaving Spain for Italy in his early 30s mirrored a move made by previous Bernabeu favourite in compatriot Luis Figo. He was a similar age when quitting Los Blancos for Inter Milan.
Unlike Figo, though, who netted just a handful of Serie A goals, reported €100 million signing Ronaldo is expected to take the league by storm and odds-on with bookmakers to be the Capocannoniere (top scorer) this season. Punters also find the Old Lady firm favourites for an eighth consecutive Scudetto and fifth Coppa Italia on the spin as a result of his arrival.
The value punt featuring Juventus, then, may be for them to go one better than 2015 and two years ago and win the Champions League in 2019 at a standout 7/1 in the football betting at bet365. It is weird to think of them as stronger without long-serving goalkeeper Buffon, but Ronaldo isn’t the only name brought in to Turin.
In their bid to find someone to fill the gloves of the Italian great, Juve have signed Genoa goalie Mattia Perin to provide genuine competition to Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny, who deputised for Buffon plenty last term and spent the previous two seasons on loan at Serie A rivals Roma from Arsenal.
Ronaldo’s arrival has allowed the Old Lady to bring back Leonardo Bonucci after just a year with AC Milan, as the centre-half is swapped for Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain. There are fresh faces in defence, too, with the capture of Portugal’s attacking right-back Joao Cancelo from Valencia – another player with Serie A experience having spent last season with Inter – and these, coupled with veterans of so much success like Giorgio Chiellini – give the rearguard a wily and rock solid look.
The World Cup 2018 was a very mixed bag for Juve midfielders. While Sami Khedira looked completely off the pace for defending champions Germany, Rodrigo Bentancur showed signs he has a bright future with Uruguay and Blaise Matuidi was an unsung hero in France’s triumph, often playing out of position.
Max Allegri now has Emre Can, drafted in on a free from Champions League finalists Liverpool, to supplement these options, Bosnia playmaker Miralem Pjanic and Stefano Sturaro. The Old Lady are suddenly looking even stronger in every area of the pitch, then, and there is nothing but promise for the start of the post-Buffon era.
After going so close to adding another European Cup to the two they’ve previously won in Allegri’s first season and 2017, could the third time be the charm for Juventus? Only Manchester City and Barcelona are more fancied in the Champions League outright betting, so bookmakers believe they have assembled a squad that can make its presence felt throughout the continent.