Milan (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo warned that “true champions never break” as he turned his focus to Juventus’s Serie A match at Cagliari on Sunday after their early Champions League elimination.
“True champions never break! Our focus is already in Cagliari, in the Serie A struggle, in the Italian Cup final and in everything that we can still achieve this season,” Ronaldo said on Instagram, the first time he has spoken since Juventus crashed out of the last 16 to Porto.
“More important than the number of falls you take in life, is how fast and how strong you get back on your feet.”
Ronaldo’s future at Juventus is in the spotlight after a third Champions League failure since he was signed for 100 million euros ($117 million) in the summer of 2018 from Real Madrid.
“It’s true that the past belongs in museums (I should say!), but fortunately, football has memory… and so do I,” the 36-year-old continued.
Ronaldo is the record scorer in the competition with 134 goals, and has lifted the trophy five times with Manchester United and Real Madrid.
But the Portuguese forward failed to score in either leg of a knockout round for the first time in 16 years.
He added: “History can’t be deleted, it’s written every single day with resilience, team spirit, persistence and lots of hard work. And those who don’t understand this, will never achieve glory and success.”
Juventus are third in Serie A — 10 points behind leaders Inter Milan — but with a game in hand as they target a 10th consecutive league title.
They are also through to the Italian Cup final.
“Ronaldo is fine, it’s normal that he is disappointed the other night like the whole team,” said coach Andrea Pirlo before Sunday’s game in Sardinia.
“Ronaldo trained well, he recovered to play tomorrow.
“It is normal for there to be rumours after the elimination because he is the most important figure in the world of football together with (Lionel) Messi and always makes people talk about him, but let’s remember that he has always done well, scoring over 90 goals in 100 games.
“It may happen that he doesn’t score in a match and it happens to the others too, but with him it makes more noise.”
Pirlo added: “We trained together and went back to work. We will face a Cagliari team that has recently changed its coach and has immediately achieved excellent results.
“So it will be an important match and it will take great pride and team spirit for us to play a good match.”