Ronaldo saluted by Juve boss Pirlo as double at Parma takes him to landmark haul

By John Skilbeck 20 December 2020 19
Ronaldo saluted by Juve boss Pirlo as double at Parma takes him to landmark haul

Cristiano Ronaldo showed "how much he cares" about scoring as he became the first Serie A player since 1961 to reach 33 Serie A goals in a calendar year.

That was the verdict of head coach Andrea Pirlo after Ronaldo netted twice in Saturday's 4-0 win at Parma, a game bookended by goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Alvaro Morata.

Ronaldo's supporting cast impressed, but there was no doubting the star of the show, the Portuguese leaping impressively to head his first before striking early in the second half to kill off the game.

The game came three days on from Ronaldo missing a penalty in Juve's frustrating 1-1 draw with Atalanta.

Pirlo was impressed by Ronaldo's appetite for the occasion, and the eagerness of the 35-year-old to make up for that spot-kick failure.

"Ronaldo was angry for having missed the penalty, but we had a few days to think about it and he showed how much he cares about scoring goals, even better when during open play," Pirlo said, quoted on the Juventus website.

"We weren't happy with Wednesday's result, but the performance was good. We had to get back the points we lost against Atalanta and we did it in the best way.

"We needed a team win and to score and we did it while playing good football. We are in a good moment, I like how we attack the opponents when they have the ball, we are growing, the right spirit is here, but we are only at the beginning and we will have to have this attitude in every match."

Omar Sivori was the last Serie A player to hit 33 goals in a year, doing so midway through an eight-year stay at Juventus.

Ronaldo could still improve on his own 2020 haul, with Juventus facing Fiorentina on Tuesday in their final game before a short break.

His 33 goals have come from just 28 appearances, with 27 scored with his right foot, four with his left foot and two with his head.

Thirteen of those goals have been penalties, with Ronaldo taking 15 spot-kicks in Serie A since the year began.

Just two of the goals have been scored from outside the penalty area, with Ronaldo firmly established as a predator inside the 18-yard box, while nobody has hit the woodwork in Serie A more often than him this year – the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star being one of six players to do so six times.

The double made him this season's outright top scorer so far with 12 goals, two ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku, whose heroics are driving the challenges of Milan and Inter respectively.

Gianluigi Buffon, who began his professional career with Parma in the mid-1990s, kept a clean sheet for Juventus against his old club.

The 42-year-old goalkeeper has experienced the ups and downs of life at Juventus in almost 20 years with the Bianconeri, across two spells.

And former Italy number one Buffon says it will take a string of stirring displays to be sure rookie coach Pirlo has stamped his mark on the team, who remain unbeaten through 13 rounds of Serie A games.

"Now it will be important for us to put together many convincing performances, showing off a good game, and then we can say that we are Andrea Pirlo's team," Buffon said.

"We will have some highs and lows – as is normal – but when we have the highs, we are good and beautiful to look at."

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