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Buffon: Juve's team DNA died with CR7

Juve icon Buffon reveals how Cristiano's arrival brought an end to their team DNA

December 25, 2021 By Ali M.
The legendary goalkeeper held a candid interview with TUDN in which he discussed Ronaldo's time in Turin.

A lot has been said about Cristiano Ronaldo's time at Juventus, with his admirers pointing to his amazing goalscoring record while his detractors highlight the club's decline from where they were prior to his arrival to where they were at his final season in Turin.

Gianluigi Buffon has also offered his thoughts on the Portuguese legend's time with the Old Lady, becoming the latest former teammate to candidly go public with his opinion on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. While the Italian goalkeeper said nothing sensational, his choice of words were eye-catching nonetheless.

The iconic shot-stopper sat down for an interview with TUDN, opening up about what went wrong during Ronaldo's three-year spell in Italy. Juventus, who were the undisputed kings of Italy at the time of Cristiano's arrival, bought the UEFA Champions League's most successful player with the aim of finally conquering Europe. Instead, the Bianconeri went on to suffer embarrassing early exits in Europe while losing their domestic dominance in the years that followed his addition.

Buffon admits he was initially surprised by Juventus' early UEFA Champions League exit in Ronaldo's first year in Turin. The Italian giants were dumped out of the competition by an Ajax side that went all the way to the semifinals, leaving the now 43-year-old bewildered as he had left the club for PSG.

"Juventus had the chance to win the Champions League the first year he was there, when I was at Paris Saint-Germain," Buffon admitted, as per Marca. "I couldn't understand what happened.

However, when Gianluigi returned to Juventus a year later in 2019, all became clear to the Italian. The goalkeeper stated what many believed to be true: the arrival of Cristiano came at the cost of the collective. It is almost a bitter-sweet situation. On one hand, you have one of, if not the, greatest players in history, a man who can single-handedly carry teams to victories in both games and title pursuits. On the flip side, this reliance does come at a cost.

"When I returned I worked with him for two years and we did well, but I think Juventus lost their team DNA while he was there.

"We reached the 2017 Champions League final because we were a team packed with experience, but above all we were a team. We lost that with Ronaldo."

So, is this a dig at Ronaldo, a player whom Buffon has constantly lavished with praise? Probably not. Leonardo Bonucci echoed a similar sentiment not too long ago, with the beloved center-back stating that the disintegration of the team had more to do with the Juventus players growing heavily reliant on Ronaldo on a subconscious level.

Furthermore, looking at how Allegri's side have been faring this season is proof that Ronaldo was not the only issue at the Allianz Stadium. In fact, despite having left for Man United over the summer, the Portuguese forward finished 2021 as the Old Lady's top scorer.

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