Cristiano Ronaldo

The presence of Cristiano Ronaldo may help Juventus close the gap on the top teams in Europe, but it is no guarantee that they will win the Champions League, Lothar Matthaus has said.

Ronaldo, 33, led Madrid to the Champions League title last year to win the fourth winners’ medal of his career before leaving the Spanish capital for Juve.

The Portuguese attacker has been tipped to fire the Turin side to continental success, who have reached the final of the European competition twice in the last four years but lost to Barcelona and then a Ronaldo-led Real Madrid.

However, former Inter, Bayern Munich and Germany star Matthaus says winning the top competitions is not as easy as some believe, insisting Ronaldo will only take them so far.

“Ronaldo is no longer in the best age for a footballer,” Matthaus told Sport Bild. “I think he will focus on the Champions League. There he can show his best performances and did that again last year at Real Madrid.

“As curious as it may sound: with Napoli and Inter they have two really strong rivals. I think the league will be more exciting after seven successive Juve titles, but they are going to be more dangerous for the top teams thanks to Ronaldo.

“They can get closer to the absolute top teams and keep up, but I would not say Juve are top of the elite level because of Ronaldo.”

As well as a huge gain for Serie A, however, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s absence will be felt in La Liga, Matthaus believes.

“It’s a big loss for the Spanish league, but Real Madrid remain Real Madrid, even without Ronaldo,” he added.

“The club has always lost big players, which is part of the history of Real. They will commit new stars. Maybe Gareth Bale is the replacement for Ronaldo, he has played very strong since Ronaldo left and finally shows his true face.”

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