Paolo Maldini believes the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo could give Juventus the edge they need to win the Champions League, as he thinks they would have been crowned European champions already if they had the forward in their ranks.
Ronaldo joined the Serie A champions this week on a four-year deal after they agreed to pay Real Madrid €100 million (£88m/$117m) plus €12m (£10.5/$14m) in additional charges.
The 33-year-old’s move came as a big shock to football fans, as he had just lifted a third consecutive Champions League title with Madrid – the fifth of his career.
But Ronaldo explained that “the time has come for a new cycle” as he looks to conquer another of Europe’s top leagues.
Juve are currently on a streak of seven straight Scudetti wins, but it has been 22 years since they won the continent’s top trophy.
The Bianconeri had their dream crushed in 2017 when a Ronaldo double fired Madrid to a 4-1 final win. And the Portuguese icon was again the star when they met in the quarter-finals of the tournament last season, scoring two and setting up another as Madrid progressed on away goals.
Still seen at the top of his game, Ronaldo has been tipped to help Juve to a clean sweep of trophies by coach Massimiliano Allegri, and Italy legend Maldini fancies their chances now.
“It’s maybe reductive [to say Juventus need Ronaldo to win in Europe], but if you think about the final between Juventus and Real Madrid, he scored twice,” the former AC Milan defender told Goal.
“If he had been on the opposite side, it could have gone differently.
“There isn’t a big difference between the two teams. Real Madrid had on their side a winning mentality and a high-quality squad.
“Juventus came really close – many times you need a bit of luck and Juventus was never very lucky in the finals.”
Maldini’s idea of Ronaldo representing Juve in previous finals came close to being a reality. The Italian giants tried to sign the global star from Sporting CP when he was just 18, but saw the deal collapse when Marcelo Salas refused to join the Portuguese side in exchange, allowing Manchester United to snap the prospect up.