Cristiano Ronaldo has settled in at Juventus very well.
After a slow start - no goals in three matches represents a poor return by Ronaldo’s standards - the Portuguese forward has responded by scoring seven goals in all competitions.
His brace against Empoli, which included a superb 25-yard strike, handed the Old Lady a 2-1 win that maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
Adjusting to a new environment is often difficult but Ronaldo wasted no time in stamping his authority, immediately taking on free-kick duty at Juventus.
The moment Ronaldo arrived in Turin, Paulo Dybala knew the number of free-kicks he and Miralem Pjanic took would be reduced.
“When Ronaldo arrived, I wrote to Pjanic in our chatroom: ‘Sorry Mire, but I think you won’t be taking many free-kicks this year’,” the Argentine recently joked to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Dybala and Pjanic reached an agreement last season when it came to free-kicks. The left-footed Dybala would take free-kicks from the right side while Pjanic, a right-footer, would hit them from the left.
Free-kick change at Juventus
But Ronaldo came in and took charge, despite the fact that his record isn’t that impressive.
The 33-year-old only scored two La Liga free-kicks in his final three seasons at Real Madrid. By comparison, Dybala and Pjanic netted a combined 16 free-kicks in the last three Serie A campaigns.
So, while he has an aura around him, it doesn’t really make sense for Ronaldo to take all of the free-kicks at Juventus.
And from now on, he won’t.
Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri confirmed on Friday that Ronaldo will only take free-kicks from a long distance out.
The closer attempts will be struck by Pjanic and Dybala.
"Ronaldo is a smart guy, he knows Pjanic and Dybala are excellent free-kick takers and they are going to take those close to the area,” Allegri said, per Calciomercato.
“When there are free kicks from far away, Ronaldo can kick them but we’ve decided that Dybala and Pjanic will take the set pieces close to the area.”
That makes sense.
If Juventus are to achieve their goals this season - they are targeting a Champions League trophy - then Ronaldo is going to have to sacrifice his own personal success.
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