Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon has admitted that the team ‘lost their DNA’ following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018.
A €100m signing from Real Madrid, Ronaldo’s arrival was supposed to turn Juventus into all-dominant European giants, but while he picked up two Serie A titles in three years, he could not inspire anything close to success in the Champions League.
Buffon, who left Juventus in 2018 but returned to play alongside Ronaldo 12 months later, has now admitted that he felt as though the Portugal international’s arrival led to a change of culture at the Allianz Stadium which harmed the rest of the squad.
“Juventus had the chance to win the Champions League the first year he arrived, which was the year I was at Paris Saint-Germain, and I couldn’t figure out what happened,” he told TUDN.
“When I returned, I worked with Ronaldo for two years and we did well together, but I think Juventus lost that DNA of being a team.
“We reached the Champions League final in 2017 because we were a side full of experience, but above all we were a single unit and there was this competition for places within the group that was very strong. We lost that with Ronaldo.”
Centre-back Leonardo Bonucci has rarely shied away from discussing the negative impact Ronaldo’s signing had on the team, admitting back in September that the squad lost their desire to work as hard for one another.
Bonucci’s partner-in-crime, Giorgio Chiellini, told DAZN soon after that Juventus no longer felt able to give their all for Ronaldo.
“We had arrived at a point in our relationship where Cristiano needed new goals and a team that would play for him, because when he finds a team like that he is decisive,” he said.
“Here at Juventus, a programme of rejuvenation and restarting was born. If Ronaldo had stayed, he would have been an added value, but it is normal that he thought more about the present than the future.
“Ronaldo left on August 28, it would have been better for us if he had left earlier. We paid something for it, a little bit of a shock, we paid something for it in terms of points. If he had left earlier we would have had time to prepare better.”