Ronaldo at Juventus | Tactical Profile

Ronaldo at Juventus | Tactical Profile

Cristiano Ronaldo has completed a transfer
to Juventus, for a fee reportedly in excess of 100 million euros, including additional
fees for youth clubs he supports. The fee is the largest ever repaid for a player over
30 years old, and the largest ever paid by an Italian club. Ronaldo is still a world
class player, but he joins a squad bristling with others: currently, Juventus can boast
World Cup finalist Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, wingers Federico
Bernardeschi, Juan Cuadrado and Douglas Costa, and prospects like Marko Pjaca and Moise Kean.
So where will Juventus’ new big money signing fit? At Real Madrid, one of Zinedine Zidane’s
most impressive feats was his management of Ronaldo. He convinced him, for the first time
ever, to sit games out and rest when required, partly as a result of the ligament injury
suffered in the Euros. No longer a winger cutting in from a 4-3-3, based on acceleration,
physicality, and driving runs, Ronaldo was transformed into a brilliant striker, with
his positioning, intelligence, and goal threat from closer pre-eminent. Zidane lined Real
up in a 4-3-1-2 or attacking 4-4-2, with width coming from the full backs or aggressive wide
midfielders – Ronaldo could be more predatory, looking to pounce on crosses, and play more
statically. Creativity came from midfield, with Karim Benzema and Ronaldo the focal points
in the attack, but with Benzema dropping to link play. For Portugal, Ronaldo played in a 4-4-2, generally
alongside the mobile, hard-pressing Goncalo Guedes. Guedes tended to play ahead of Ronaldo
in build-up, with the captain dropping off to link the play but more as a deep passer,
than someone who bursts up into space; obviously he could still do this, but Ronaldo’s movement
was more about shifting the play and then moving into the space created by that shift
to pose a goal threat from the return pass. Ronaldo showed that, not only is he a goal
threat from open play, but that he retains his devastating ability from set pieces too. Both of these systems paired Ronaldo with
another striker, someone who could either do the hard running in the press, like Guedes,
and move to draw players away from Ronaldo, or, as at Real with Benzema, drop off and
link play to Ronaldo, who stayed further up the pitch. While Ronaldo is still extremely
fit and plays a very physical style of football, it makes sense to take as much of the physical
burden from him. So how will he fit in at Juventus? Generally,
Max Allegri has played two systems recently, a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1. Juventus like to build
from the back, playing vertical passes to the midfield or to the central striker or
attacking midfielder dropping in, looking to suck the opposition into the central space
before rapidly moving the ball wide. They also look to overload one flank, and then
switch play, especially if using quick players like Douglas Costa or Cuadrado out wide. Mandzukic, one of the more versatile forwards
in world football, has played either as a striker or as the wide left player, moving
in to present an aerial threat in the gap on the opposition’s right between the full
back and the right-sided centre back and bringing other players in. Higuain is both a focal point and the striker
who drops in, working hard to hold up the ball, move it back to an open player, and
then turn and burst into the box to find shooting chances. Ronaldo could do either of these roles, although
without the benefit of another player alongside him, his work load would increase from the
ways in which he has been used with Real Madrid and Portugal. While Ronaldo is excellent in
the air, he would not be a like-for-like replacement for Mandzukic – he is less abrasively physical
and less selfless than the Croatian striker, who works very hard in the service of others.
It seems likely, then, that his competition could be mostly with Higuain, but there are
ways the two could work together. Ronaldo could play slightly ahead of Higuain, with
the Juventus 4-2-3-1 looking slightly more like Real’s 4-4-2; the wide players would
need to cover the wide spaces a little deeper to compensate for Higuain’s pushing up from
the 10 space, but he is very capable of linking play and leaving Ronaldo as a front man. This
role could also be easily performed by Dybala, should either Higuain or Ronaldo need a rest. Otherwise, Juventus could play a very adventurous
style of 4-3-1-2, with Dybala playing off Higuain and Ronaldo. The young Argentina player
is very capable operating in the wide spaces, drifting around the pitch to create passing
options and feeding the front two. Cuadrado could play on the right hand side of the midfield
three, with Matuidi on the left, to give Juventus more attacking options, with Miralem Pjanic
or Emre Can the deep playmaker. Should this be too defensively open, Cuadrado could be
swapped out for more of a holding player, or Can could add energy on the right hand
side of the three, getting forwards to support Dyabala with Matuidi doing the same. In Alex Sandro and Mattia De Sciglio, Juventus
have full backs who can add width to this system, but Cuadrado could also drop back
to play as an aggressive right back, should Juventus opt for this 4-3-1-2, and with covering
centre backs as capable as Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele Rugani, and Medhi Benatia, Juventus
could likely cope with this sort of attacking game. The question for Allegri, then, is one of
system change versus rotation. If he wants to rotate, then Ronaldo can play centrally
in Juventus’ 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 instead of Higuain or Mandzukic. Should Allegri want
to change, he has the players to use an attacking 4-3-1-2 that would benefit his new signing
greatly. Allegri has shown he is a capable coach, unafraid of switching tactics from
game to game; ultimately, Ronaldo will likely be used in different ways for different opponents,
but Allegri has added a real weapon to his arsenal, and Juventus are an even stronger
side for Ronaldo’s acquisition.

About the Author: Garret Beatty


  1. Tifo football: Ronaldo and Higuain can play together
    Juventus: Or we could loan Higuain off to AC Milan in exchange for Bonnuci

  2. Two things – 1) Do you think CR7 will score more goals close to 30? I dont believe that his team mates have yet learned how to provide the ball were he needs it. 2) Who is the best at providing the best crosses?

  3. You should make a video regarding the rape allegations against Ronaldo.

    Important topic that has been ignored by many, or at least people have avoided talking about it.

  4. The worlds a different game now. Ronaldo for £100,000,000 is cheap. His revenue for the club will easily make that figure look small after a season or two. especially if they win the champions league.

  5. I just love the way Zidane gets depicted in these videos. The halo fits him more than anybody else. The whisperer himself.

  6. Make a video on basic tactics. As I am new to football and wanna understand about foundation and basics of tactics and formations

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