How Cristiano Ronaldo’s Arrival Changes Serie A

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo – Source: Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo has arrived in Turin, and will indeed be suiting up for Juventus in the coming domestic season. As every football fan knows, transfers of this magnitude are often rumored for no good reason; you could more or less run a search for any major player and any major club and find some publication suggesting mutual interest. In this case however, rumors of Ronaldo heading to Juventus felt accurate from the beginning, and the move has of course become a reality. Now, the question is how the arrival of one of the best footballers in the history of the sport will alter the Serie A landscape.

A New Top Scorer?

The prevailing logic will undoubtedly be that Ronaldo is about to come in and lead Serie A in scoring. For all the attention Mohamed Salah got for his sensational 2017/18 campaign for Liverpool, Ronaldo actually matched his offensive achievements. As a piece on last season’s Champions League noted, both netted over 40 times on the year. However, that includes Champions League play. Domestically, Ronaldo scored just 26 goals – a very respectable total, but not out of the ordinary. For perspective, we’d remind you that Mauro Icardi and Lazio’s own Ciro Immobile each had 29 goals in Serie A last season. So, while Ronaldo may still be a justified favorite in this category, there’s no guarantee the league will have a new lead scorer.

A New Top Scoring Club

As you’ll no doubt recall it was Lazio’s high-powered attack that actually led Serie A last season, with 89 total goals on the season despite the 5th place overall finish. This topped Juventus by three goals, and it’s perhaps the most basic, bottom line reason some expect Lazio to make a move up the top of the tables this coming season. The offense should be a force once more. However, while Ronaldo’s arrival doesn’t guarantee he’ll lead the league in scoring, it probably does mean Juve will be the top scoring team.

Playing For The Champions League

There’s no sense in forfeiting the league before it gets started, so this isn’t meant to sound as defeatist as it might. However, adding Ronaldo to an existing league champion is an incredible power play by Juventus. There’s always the hope that team chemistry takes time to develop and that not everything comes easily for Juventus. But for the most part, Lazio and other teams near (but not at) the top may be playing for a Champions League berth more than for a domestic title this coming season. Juventus with Ronaldo on board is going to be awfully difficult to top.

A Possible Arms Race

It’s getting a little late for this, but it’s been suggested that Ronaldo’s move to Juventus could be the start of a transfer rush. Other stars may feel emboldened to move, Serie A clubs may feel the need to spend to keep up, Real Madrid might be looking for a high-profile replacement, etc. It’s no guarantee, but sometimes a big move like this can lead to a lot more changes up and down the major leagues, and particularly in Serie A in this case.