The hope and excitement regarding the galvanized AC Milan were big at the start of the season but as the season is coming to an end, the Rossoneri discovers themselves at the familiar position where they have been for almost a decade – the chance to secure a place in the Champions League seems tougher.
At the Stadio Olimpico Lazio thrashed the visitors while Napoli’s victory over Torino helped them leapfrog Milan and Juventus and secure a place in the third position.
Stefano Pioli’s side spent 17 weeks at the Serie A summit this season but are now fifth after Joaquin Correa’s double condemned them to defeat. Milan, one of three Italian clubs to join the European Super League before reversing their decision, now face a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“We need to show that we are strong like I believe we are,” Pioli told Sky Italia after the game. “We must react straight away because this is a heavy defeat.”
Meanwhile, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Victor Osimhen helped Napoli edge above Milan and Juve on goal difference with a win at Torino.
The draw against Fiorentina made things difficult for Juventus – the holders of the Serie A title for almost a decade.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s form is cause for concern. The Portuguese forward’s constant anger after Juventus matches, La Vecchia Signora’s position in Serie A and the player’s poor form in front of goal all have people talking.
The No.7 has now gone three games without a goal, and he hasn’t scored since netting against Napoli back on April 7. Since then, nothing but bad feelings have surrounded him, and he’s suffering his worst run of goalscoring form since his first season in Italy. Then, an injury left him out for six games and he hasn’t gone as long without a goal since.
“The team is disjointed, without a style, without a soul, and Cristiano is like a ghost on the pitch,” wrote Corriere della Sera, adding that the ex-Real Madrid forward looks “almost disinterested in the game.”
But the concern for Cristiano goes beyond one publication, as La Gazzetta dello Sport asked: “Cristiano, are you there?”
Tuttosport have written that Cristiano Ronaldo’s future could be in doubt if Juventus miss out on the Champions League.
“If they don’t qualify for the Champions League, Juventus will not be able to cover his salary and he’ll probably look for another challenge in Manchester [with Manchester United] or in Paris [with Paris Saint-Germain].”
Coach Andrea Pirlo, for his part, again defended CR7.
“I don’t think Ronaldo did badly,” Pirlo said.
“He had some chances and, in general, his performance wasn’t bad. It was the team that should have attacked in space more and we saw some of that in the second half.”
Napoli, Juventus and Milan all have 66 points, two behind second-placed Atalanta. Leaders Inter are 11 points clear and heading for their first title since 2010, while sixth-placed Lazio have a game in hand and are now five points off Milan.