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They cracked Juventus

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(Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

It is not yet time for me to take time off my tight schedule of burning national issues of political, a-political and un-political beats. But what happened to the famous Juventus Football Club of Italy in the past two to three weeks could not but compel me to not keep time even for a short while with my programmed patriotic schedule.

Juventus, the old lady of Italian football, were once again bundled out of the European Champions’ League for top football clubs in Europe. For the second or third time in a row, the reigning Italy’s Serie A champions have been kicked out of the gem competition for Europe’s best football clubs by clubs lower than them. It was highly unthinkable that this could happen to the rugged club even with Christian Ronaldo, popularly known as CR 7, in the club that he joined astonishingly from the dreaded Real Madrid of Spain, the real champions of Europe’s top clubs. CR 7 was cracked from Real Madrid three years ago in the high hopes that he would help Juventus a great deal to win for the Italian giants the European Champions’ League that they won last in 1996.

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To achieve that which must be achieved, the five-time winner of the best football trophy that the football world bestows on the most outstanding player in a given year would earn an above-six-hundred-thousand Euros per week, excluding other bonuses and benefits. So far CR7’s Midas touch has ceased to be Midas touch in Juventus with respect to what the mighty club really hired him for. He has ceaselessly banged in goals upon goals for Juventus in Serie A matches (and in the Coppa Italia, the knock-out competition), but those who wrenched him from Real Madrid and LaLiga claim that in the main task he has under performed. In fact, some of them, including some of the club’s fans and former players and ex-officials, have called him a Juventus failure They say he has underwhelmed them with his Champions’ League performances. Why has Ronaldo the Magnificent been so branded? I will skip an answer to the question. Let me keep it in abeyance – for now.

Football anatomists who may decide to re-examine the skeleton of the defeat of Juventus by Porto of Portugal would probably find out or determine that the Italian giants were knocked out of this year’s competition by football arthritis induced in the two-legged encounters by the respective officials in Portugal and in Italy. There was no doubt about it – and there is still no doubt about it – that the centre referee in Portugal in the first leg denied Juventus a glaring penalty in the dying seconds of the match when Ronaldo was un-intelligently fouled in the penalty box. The linesman at the near side of the box where Ronaldo was brought down pretended not to see what happened. Even the centre reference, who did not walk or move or dash with bent knees to or away from the scene, un-gracefully did not blow his whistle for a foul against Ronaldo despite Ronaldo’s protest and appeal. He did not even deem it necessary to consult the Video Assistant Referee (V.A.R.) to prove that he was not being partial – or that Juventus’ eventual defeat was not a programmed one before the commencement of the encounter.

If the foul against Ronaldo had been endorsed, there was no way that Juventus would not have escaped the crack that induced Ronaldo’s and Juventus’ defeat. They would not have been cracked as they were cracked firstly in Portugal and later on in the second leg in Italy. Clearly, the officials in Portugal suffered from the arthritis of the eyes as well as of the mind that induced Ronaldo’s and Juventus’ defeat. This arthritis affected his impartiality which he did not allow to prove that he exercised his discretion judiciously with respect to the disallowed penalty aforesaid that Ronaldo earned. The maestro would have scored it if it had been awarded to put Juventus on the advantage as per the away goal(s) rule.

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In Italy and in Juventus’ ground in the second leg, before Ronaldo and Juventus could beautify and demonstrate their artistry in the game, the centre referee awarded Porto a very soft penalty (which really was not a penalty). This was inside the first ten minutes of the match. And the obvious penalty denied Juventus and Ronaldo in Portugal re-played itself in my football mind. What did I see really? The fear of Ronaldo who must not be allowed to shine in the Champions League with Juventus was etched where it was etched upon my sensitive mind. (In England and Spain Ronaldo more than sparkled and proved his worth as a ruthless marksman in the Champions’ League matches he played for his respective clubs. In Italy he must not triumph).

What happened to Ronaldo was a clear case of anti-Ronaldo phobia. In both matches the magnificent super-star did not play badly. Yet the errors and follies of his fellow teammates and obvious biases of the officials must be blamed on Ronaldo. Take, for instance, the stupid, unnecessary foul Rabiot committed against Porto’s marksman Sergio Olivera who scored the vital second goal from the resultant free-kick for Porto towards the dying minutes of the extra time of the second leg. The blame for the goal was politically placed on Ronaldo “for jumping out of position” on the defence-wall.

Of course, Ronaldo jumped because he wanted to avoid a situation where the ball would deflect from him and result to an own goal. But the Juventus keeper had no business pushing or parrying the ball into his own net or letting it slip from his hands. And some persons have even said that Ronaldo backed the ball instead of facing it when the free-kick was taken. They claimed that Ronaldo backed the ball to protect his pretty face from being messed up! My O my! And what a contempt and hatred and dislike for the super-star! What a contempt, hatred and dislike that have morphed into on anti-Ronaldo phobia that is consuming the anti-Ronaldo phobists!

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One reason why this is happening is this: the rivalry between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Messi’s supporters and apologists within and outside FIFA and UEFA can fine-tune and perfect their valuation of Messi to the disadvantage of Ronaldo who must not catch up with Messi and thereafter surpass him in the Ballon D’or (Golden Ball) endorsement and reward annually given to the best performer by
France Football for his accomplishments in the game.

All the good things Ronaldo has been doing for Juventus since he joined the club from Spain matter not to those who envy him. The faults and misses of his teammates can and are excused; but his cannot and are not excused. When they crack and rob Juventus as they were cracked and robbed in the matches against
Porto, Ronaldo must be sacrificed. If all the errors Morata committed in the second leg against Porto were committed by Ronaldo the uproar that they would have generated would be ceaseless.

In any case, those who are crucifying him are turning their lenses from all his good displays in that game. His selfless assist to Chiesa, for instance, that fetched Juventus their equalizing goal has been played down. But it surely mattered in that encounter in which Juventus and Ronaldo were cracked and robbed by those who did the cracking and the robbery. Were gamblers’ hands in the two encounters as well? This could be another possibility of the cracking and robbery of the cracked and robbed Juventus and their super-esteemed super-star.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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