Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will make his Serie A debut in his side’s season-opening clash with Chievo on Saturday.
The Bianconeri‘s record recruit has been training with his new teammates less than a month, but Allegri is satisfied he has entered into his team’s philosophy and is ready to play at the sold-out Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.
“Ronaldo is playing tomorrow,” Allegri told a news conference in Turin in which he also confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Miralem Pjanic will be starters.
“Ronaldo’s settling in well and he’s a simple lad to deal with. It’s only natural that the more we play together, the better things will get, and this will only benefit the team. However, we must not think that just because we’ve got Ronaldo, we’ll win. We still need to prove that Juventus are technically better now. We’re going to have to put our hearts into it and have passion and determination, but in all of this, we are going to have to work.
Juve will begin the seventh defence of their Serie A title with a trip to Chievo, although all eyes will be on how they fare in the Champions League this season, following Ronaldo’s arrival.
Allegri has warned they must not ignore their domestic duties, however, insisting that Chievo, who were almost relegated last season, will be as challenging as they get.
“This is not the year of the Champions League, it’s the year of all the competitions,” he said. “Each year, we set off aiming to win everything and I think we’ve gone close these years.
“Our first objective is to get through the Champions League group stage. We’ve got to win our games and that is the only truth out there on the field. Real Madrid had a great Champions League season last year, but they didn’t do well in the league.
“Ronaldo’s curious [about Serie A] and this is a new season for us and it is going to be harder because we’ve signed Cristiano. Our squad has improved, but so too have the others: Inter, Roma, Lazio… so it will be difficult.
“We’ve got to put the excitement about the arrival of a huge champion to one side. We’re going to be up against a Chievo side who will be looking for a major upset and so we’ve got to respect our opponents and keep a low profile, and work. The only think that counts is winning and we’ve got the first game is always a question mark. I’m also curious about my team tomorrow.”