Cristiano Ronaldo sprinkles star dust on Juventus in intimate opener
Cristiano Ronaldo on Sunday gave a display of pure star power in his debut for Italian champions Juventus , showing his class on and off the pitch at the club ’ s traditional alpine curtain raiser .Nearly 5 , 000 fans crammed into the compact “ Gaetano Scirea ” stadium in Villar Perosa at the foot of the Italian Alps , as supporters descended on the small town in order to catch a glimpse of the superstar attacker in his first appearance since signing for 100 million euros ( $ 117 million ) a month ago .
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They were rewarded with a goal in the friendly between Juve ’ s first XI and a youth “ B ” team from their new hero , who also took the time out to sign autographs and pose for selfies while many of his teammates sloped off to the dressing room .
Chants of “ Ronaldo , bring us the Champions ( League)” filled the air as supporters worked their way through a locked- down mountain town in which 600 police officers were called to a place with a population of just over 4 , 000 and road blocks stopped anyone entering without a match ticket or proof of residence .
The town ’ s bars and restaurants were heaving with fans and media hours before the match ’ s 1700 ( 1500 GMT kick off ) , with fans in replica kits wrapped in scarves and flags arriving to see the five -times Ballon d ’ Or winner take part in one of Italian football ’ s most curious traditions .
Villar Perosa is the fiefdom of the powerful Agnelli family , the founders of Fiat and the clout behind Juve , who bought their family estate there — nicknamed “ The Castle ” — in the mid – 19 th century and established the annual pre – season friendly in the town .
Such was the dominance of the Agnellis over the town that deceased former club chairman Gianni Agnelli was mayor between 1945 and 1980 .
Cesare Bertoncello , from Turin , who was pointed out to AFP by security as being the first person to arrive in the queue to get into the ground at 0900 ( 0700 GMT ) recalled the dominating presence of the Agnellis in years passed .
“ I ’ ve been coming here since I was 12 years old back in the 1960 s , when ( Gianni ) Agnelli would arrive here in a helicopter , ” he said .
Massimo Savelli from near Siena , some 450 kilometres to the south east , got up at 0600 to be in Villar Perosa for the first time in decades of supporting his team .
He was at both the 2017 Champions League final in Cardiff , when Ronaldo scored a brace as Real Madrid hammered Juve 4 – 1 , and in Madrid last season when the Portuguese slotted the last – gasp penalty that knocked Juve out in the quarter finals .
It was Ronaldo ’ s prowess in Europe that caused Juventus to splash a club record fee , as they look to put two lost finals in the last four years behind them and try for European glory for the first time since 1996 .
“ With the arrival of Ronaldo our expectations are higher for the Champions League. He ’ s won the last three , ” said Savelli .
Ronaldo proved good value for the hype , scoring in the 10 th minute with a neat finish after breaking a loose offside trap and closing in on goal completely unmarked .
The chants of “ Cristiano , Cristiano ” had barely died down when the five -times Ballon d ’ Or winner provoked Juve ’ s second by forcing the unfortunate youth team defender Riccardo Cappellini to poke past his own goalkeeper three minutes later .
The 33 – year – old proved too much for Juve ’ s youth players , laying on winger Douglas Costa for a shot that crashed off the post and creating the first of Paulo Dybala ’ s brace thanks to a shot that was well saved by young stopper Leonardo Loria .
Come the half – time whistle , Ronaldo shot off the pitch — followed by one ambitious fan who had to be held off by security after dashing towards and trying to hug his new hero — and towards delirous fans waiting near the dressing rooms , for whom he patiently signed autographs and posed for selfies .
However he didn ’ t come out for the second – half of the match , which was eventually won 5 – 0 by the first XI and came to an end with around 20 minutes left when supporters piled onto the pitch and got a piece of their heroes .
Fans tried to get whatever autographs and photos they could — even stripping returning centre -back Leonardo Bonucci down to his underwear — before Ronaldo emerged from the changing room surrounded by security guards and fans surged towards the barrier separating them from the players .
Ronaldo once again stopped and signed more autographs than any of his teammates , while security desperately tried to stop young fans from being crushed in the surge before their leading man left for the team bus , accompanied by wild applause .