Cristiano Ronaldo has taken Juventus to the next level, says Massimiliano Allegri

Ronaldo once again impressed on the biggest stage as Juve beat Valencia 1-0 on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 28 November 2018
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Cristiano Ronaldo has taken Juventus to the next level, says Massimiliano Allegri

  • Portuguese star set new record with 100th win in the Champions League.
  • Old Lady looking to win third European crown with Ronaldo now on board.

TURIN: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed the impact Cristiano Ronaldo was having on the Italian champions as the Portuguese star became the first player to achieve 100 Champions League wins in Tuesday’s 1-0 success over Valencia that clinched their passage to the knockout rounds.
“Ronaldo gives us a sense of security and confidence,” said Allegri of the beaten finalists in two of the last four editions of the elite European competition.
“The team is essentially the same as last season. We’ve grown, become faster in playing the ball, but then of course, there is Cristiano Ronaldo.
“This team is constantly improving — they’re passing and putting play together more quickly.”
Ronaldo — who joined “the Old Lady” last summer from Real Madrid for €112 million ($126 million) — is targeting a sixth Champions League title to add to his four with the Spanish team and one with Manchester United.
The Italian giants are looking for their third European title and first since 1995.
Last season they exited in the quarterfinals to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid — thats largely to the Portuguese’s outrageous overhead kick which gave Gianluigi Buffon no chance in the Juve goal.
The 33-year-old played a key role against Valencia providing the assist on 59 minutes which Croatian Mario Mandzukic tapped in for his third goal in as many matches.
Juventus had needed just a point to ensure qualification. Their win combined with Manchester United’s late 1-0 win over Young Boys at Old Trafford means Valencia have crashed out of the competition.
Allegri’s side will now have to wait to see whether they top Group H when they play their final group game mid-December in Bern against Young Boys.
Ronaldo came out firing on all cylinders after his controversial red card during his first Champions League game for Juventus in Valencia back in September, which Allegri’s side still won 2-0.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had two chances within the first three minutes to add to his record tally of 121 Champions League goals.
Just before the hour mark, Ronaldo broke free of Valencia defender Gabriel and with some fancy footwork fired low across the face of the goal leaving Mandzukic to finish off.
“You can see how united we are including the forward,” said Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini.
“All three of them — Ronaldo, Mandzukic and Dybala, really put themselves about, it makes everything much easier.
Since his move from Real Madrid Ronaldo has scored nine league goals in just 13 matches. That scoring rate for a first-time Juve player has not been accomplished since Pietro Anastasi managed it in the 1968-69 season. Added to that Ronaldo has been directly involved in half of Juve’s 28 goals in the current Serie A campaign, with nine goals and five assists.


David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

Updated 24 March 2019
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David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

  • Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament
  • During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean

KOLKATA: Australia’s David Warner smashed 85 from 53 balls on his Indian Premier League comeback Sunday but his knock went in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad lost to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Warner, who along with compatriot Steve Smith returns to the Twenty20 tournament after missing the previous edition due to a ball-tampering controversy, steered Sunrisers to 181 for three after being put into bat.
Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament after organizers stopped him for his part in the scandal.
His one-year ban from international cricket ends later this month and the 32-year-old opener is expected to make Australia’s World Cup squad and play in this summer’s Ashes series in England.
During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean, and grade cricket in Australia.
His efforts though were not enough, with Andre Russell hitting an unbeaten 49 off 19 balls as the Knight Riders won by six wickets with two balls to spare at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
A pause for a floodlight failure in the 16th over re-charged Knight Riders’ chase as Russell put together an unbeaten 65-run stand with Shubman Gill, who hit 18 runs including the winning six.
Russell struck four fours and four sixes
Earlier Warner stood out during a 118-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who made 39, to lay the platform for their big total.
“It is good to get out there and contribute. It looked a nice wicket to bat on but it slowed down a bit which made us reassess after six overs,” Warner said after his knock.
The Australian admitted some anxiety before his big return to IPL — and an unusual solution.
“I was a bit nervous in the dressing room and kept drinking pickle juice,” he said.
Opener Warner survived a reprieve on 38 after Knight Riders captain and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik dropped him off left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Warner, who captained Sunrisers to their only IPL title in 2016, made the most of the spill and raced to his 37th IPL fifty with a six off Russell to signal his aggressive intent.
Bairstow was bowled by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla but Warner took the attack to the opposition, hitting nine fours and three sixes during his blitz.
Warner, who recently recovered from an elbow injury he picked in the Bangladesh Premier League, finally fell to Russell after driving the ball to cover.
Warner said his elbow “wasn’t all too bad” after doing a lot of work with his trainer back home.
Year-long bans from state and international cricket for Warner and Smith end on March 28 but the duo are keen to get among the runs in the IPL, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting in May.
The suspension did not include club games but IPL’s governing council decided not to allow the disgraced duo in the 11th edition of the T20 league last year in a bid to avoid controversy.
The pair were banned for cheating in a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, whose nine-month ban has already finished.
Smith is expected to appear for his team Rajasthan Royals in their opening match against Kings XI Punjab in Jaipur on Monday.