With a trophy up for grabs, it was inevitable that Cristiano Ronaldo would make a key contribution for Juventus against AC Milan on Wednesday.
The Portuguese forward scored the only goal of the game at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah to ensure Juve lifted the Italian Super Cup at the full-time whistle.
Ronaldo’s glancing header from a Miralem Pjanic pass beat Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and sent the passionate Saudi Arabian football fans into meltdown. (If you haven’t seen them join in with Ronaldo’s ‘Siii!’ celebration - then watch it HERE).
“It was a very difficult match, it’s very warm and hard to play in these conditions,” he told Rai Sport, per Football Italia. “We played well, created a lot of chances and obviously I am happy to have scored the winning goal.
“I am happy, it was my intention to start 2019 with a trophy, I have my first title with Juve and I am very happy!
“It is only the start, we take it one step at a time. We’ve got this Cup, now we must keep working hard to achieve the next trophy.
“Serie A is always Juve’s principle objective, we are top of the table, but it’s a very long tournament and it’s going to be tough, so we need to keep working.
“I dedicate the goal to the team, my family, friends and everyone around the world who loves Juve and loves Cristiano.”
Madrid-based newspaper Marca also dedicated some coverage to the match and offered their assessment of Ronaldo following his first trophy win as a Juve player.
They’re claiming that Ronaldo, who joined Juve six months ago, can already be described as a “bargain” at €112 million.
“Well bought. Fantastically acquired. A bargain. What a move for Juventus,” Marca’s Jose I. Perez writes.
“It is for days like this one that they signed Cristiano Ronaldo during the summer. The Portuguese is rewarding the faith that the club showed him with his displays on the pitch.
“In his first final, the Supercoppa Italiana against Milan, he brought his first title to the Old Lady with the game's only goal. There were 11 Juventus players on the park but he was the one who scored the goal that allowed Massimiliano Allegri's side to lift the trophy.
“In the end, CR7 is going to be a bargain.
“The 112 million euro fee will be worth little to Real Madrid, while for Juventus it could be the difference between winning silverware and not.”
Absolutely. Madrid’s decision to sell the five-time Ballon d’Or winner looks crazier with each passing week.
Los Blancos are enduring a dismal season by their standards - they currently sit fourth in La Liga, 10 points behind league-leaders Barcelona - but that surely wouldn’t be the case had they kept their best player.
Ronaldo has been in fantastic form for Juve this season, even if he’s not scoring goals on such a regular basis in Italy.
In 26 games for the Old Lady, the 33-year-old has netted 16 goals. He also leads the race for Serie A’s Golden Boot award, with 14 goals in 19 matches.
“It was his first trophy with Juventus, but how many more will there be?” Marca added in their article after the Italian Super Cup.
“That is the question. Cristiano just took four months to kickstart his trophy collection in Italy. His bulging trophy cabinet now has 26 winners medals within it, achieved in Portugal, England, Spain and now Italy.
“In addition, he is once again proving decisive in a key match; he seems to raise his game when silverware is at stake. His header against Milan was his 16th goal of the campaign, 14 of them coming in Serie A and one coming in the Champions League, in addition to the domestic Super Cup strike.”
Like the rest of us, it seems Marca can’t understand why Ronaldo is no longer plying his trade at the Bernabeu.