Cristiano Ronaldo saves Juventus after coming off the bench v Atalanta

Atalanta BC v Juventus - Serie A

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri took a major gamble with his team selection on Boxing Day afternoon, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo out of his starting line-up for the visit to Atalanta.

Equipped with a seven-point lead at the top of Serie A, Allegri clearly believed his team could seal their 17th victory of the campaign without the talismanic Portuguese star.

However, the decision to name Ronaldo among the substitutes backfired on Allegri, whose side went 2-1 behind early in the second half.

Juve had taken the lead in the second minute through Berat Djimsiti, but goals either side of half-time from Daniel Zapata left the Old Lady trailing.

To make matters worse for Juve, Rodrigo Bentancur was shown a second yellow card in the 53rd minute, reducing the Serie A league-leaders to 10 men.

Ronaldo was kept on the bench until the 65th minute, when he was sent on in place of Sami Khedira.

And with just over 10 minutes before the full-time whistle, up popped Ronaldo to rescue 10-man Juve, who avoided their first league defeat of the season in the process.

Atalanta BC v Juventus - Serie A

Ronaldo immediately picked the ball up after scoring and rushed back to the centre circle - desperate to secure all three points - but Juve were forced to settle for the draw.

Watch Ronaldo’s goal here…

Many football fans on social media were quick to point out that Ronaldo is the sport’s ultimate clutch player…

If you desperately need a goal, there’s no better player.

Meanwhile, a stat is going around on social media claiming Ronaldo has become the first ever player in Serie A history to score in seven consecutive away games in a debut season.

Juve forked out £100 million for the 33-year-old but he’s been worth every single penny so far.

Real Madrid fans, meanwhile, must surely be wondering why on earth Florentino Perez allowed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to leave in the summer.

Suggestions that he was entering the early stages of decline have proved to be well wide of the mark.

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