Cristiano Ronaldo was “absolutely” a “wrong purchase” when he joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018, a former chairman of the troubled Italian giants has insisted as part of a damning assessment of the club’s current hierarchy.
In a miserable week for Ronaldo and Juve after they crashed out of the Champions League at home to Porto, Giovanni Cobolli did not hold back when he was asked whether the signing of the world’s most high-profile player had been a mistake.
Cobolli also called on Juventus and Czech Republic legend Pavel Nedved to consider his position on the club’s board in the wake of another disastrous end to the club’s campaign in Europe’s most prestigious competition.
“It’s Juventus’ business to sell Ronaldo or not, but he’s worth a million per goal,” lawyer Cobolli told Radio Punto Nuovo.
“Cristiano Ronaldo was a wrong purchase? Absolutely yes. I said it from day one, showing appreciation for the great champion that he is. But he is too expensive and brings too many conditions.”
The 76-year-old, who took over at the helm in Turin for three years following the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal that engulfed the club in 2006, could have been referring to the dependency Juventus place upon their top scorer in their tactical set-up.
Ronaldo has enjoyed tremendous personal success at Juve, averaging almost a goal a game and shooting the club to the Serie A top-flight title in both of his seasons at the club so far.
His main goal, though, is to help Juve to Champions League glory – an ambition that was dashed for another season as his side slumped to a second successive exit at the first knockout stage of the Champions League.
Rookie boss Andrea Pirlo was appointed at the end of last season in a bid to achieve European success, but Juve face an uphill struggle simply to retain their domestic title well into his first season, currently standing ten points behind leaders Inter Milan.
Cobolli likened Pirlo’s plight to his own experience with Ciro Ferrara, whose dreadful brief reign ended shortly after Juve were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage.
“[Current chairman Andrea] Agnelli took a risk,” said Cobolli. “I am not critical of Pirlo, I also had the experience with Ferrara.
“The team has had important absences like [striker Paulo] Dybala’s, but would he have played? Juventus need to rebuild.
“I knew [Nedved] as a great champion but he doesn’t have the ability to be Juventus vice president. He should rethink his role.”
Ronaldo joined the club for around $134 million. His current contract, which expires in 2022, makes him the highest-paid player in Serie A, and he has been linked to a return to former club Manchester United, of the English Premier League.