Ronaldo’s Juventus fight for another title


Juventus , who has the brilliant  Cristiano Ronaldo in their squad, should finally wrap up an eighth successive Serie A title on Saturday but it will be little more than a consolation prize to the Turin side following their Champions League exit.

At the sametime, opponents Fiorentina, without a win for two months, will have their mindselsewhere as they concentrate on their Coppa Italia campaign which offers thechance to win their first silverware since 2001.

Juve need apoint on Saturday to clinch the title with five matches to spare. Even if theylose, they will have another chance on Monday, when second-placed Napoli, whoare 17 points behind, would still need to beat Atalanta to prolong the contest.

The lack ofanticipation around Saturday's match sums up a strange Serie A season in whichJuventus, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, have been utterly dominant withoutplaying particularly well.

Theirsigning of the five-times World Player of the Year in July was initially seenas a boost for Serie A which has been struggling to attract the world's biggestplayers.

ButRonaldo's ability to conjure goals out of nothing has often allowed to Juventusto win matches without really exerting themselves and, in others, snatch winsthey have not really deserved.

Fiorentina,meanwhile, are one of several exasperating Serie A outfits who threaten tooffer a challenge to the bigger teams before slumping into mediocrity.

They boastplenty of talented young players such as forward Giovanni Simeone — the son ofAtletico Madrid coach Diego — and Federico Chiesa.

Yet theyhave struggled to turn dominance of matches into wins, and their record of 16draws in 32 league matches, plus their position in the table — 10th out of 20 —sums up a mediocre season.

Theirfrustration came to a head two weeks ago when, after a home defeat to lowlyFrosinone, the club issued a statement criticising the team and coach StefanoPioli resigned in protest, saying his "human and professional" qualities hadbeen questioned.

In hisplace, Vincenzo Montella has returned for a second stint, having led Fiorentinato three successive fourth-placed finishes during his previous spell.

The brightspot has been Fiorentina's Coppa Italia campaign which has taken them to thesemi-finals. They visit Atalanta for the second leg next Thursday following a3-3 draw in the first.

Montellasaid on his arrival that he sensed the air of discontent among the club's fans.

"InFlorence, we need synergy between the fans, media and the team," he said. "Iask them to trust in my enthusiasm and to only protest if we deserve it."

"There isalways a sense of disappointment after a change of coach especially for playerswho got on so well with Pioli. However, in football you need to turn over a newleaf quickly and the lads want to turn around this negative trend."

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