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‘That was for the fans’ – Ronaldo helps Juventus to ninth straight Serie A title

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Cristiano Ronaldo dedicated Juventus’ record-extending ninth successive Serie A title ‘to the fans’ as they defeated Sampdoria in Turin.

The forward scored his 31st league goal of the season from Miralem Pjanic’s short free-kick and Federico Bernardeschi sealed the victory.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are the only team to win nine consecutive titles in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

It extends their own record, which Bayern Munich had matched in June.

Ronaldo missed the chance to get closer to Ciro Immobile’s tally of 34 at the top of the Serie A goal charts as he struck a penalty against the crossbar in the final minutes.

Juventus had missed the chance to claim the title in what manager Sarri described as a “messy” defeat at Udinese on Thursday and began Sunday’s match with just one win in their last five games.

They were far from their free-flowing best and were forced to withstand plenty of pressure in the second half but Bernardeschi’s goal from Ronaldo’s saved attempt ensured former Chelsea manager Sarri won the first league title of his managerial career.

Sampdoria’s hopes of finding a way back into the match ended as they were reduced to 10-men following a second booking for Morten Thorsby.

Ronaldo’s goal sees him move to within three of leading Serie A goalscorer Immobile, who scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Verona earlier on Sunday.

Title dedicated to the fans
Ronaldo, 35, has scored 10 goals since football returned in Italy on June 20, more than any other player in Europe, bringing his tally to 31 this season.

He has also matched former Italy World Cup winner Felice Borel, who was the last player to score 31 goals for Juventus in the 1933-34 season, with two games remaining.

“Delighted for the second consecutive championship and to continue building the history of this great and splendid club,” said Ronaldo on Instagram.

“This title is dedicated to all Juventus fans, in particular to those who have suffered and are suffering from the pandemic that has taken us all by surprise by overturning the world.

“It was not easy. Your courage, your attitude and your determination were the strength we needed to face this tight final of the championship and fight to the end for this title that belongs to all of Italy.

“A big hug to you all.”

Defender Leonardo Bonucci added: “It is the most beautiful success, even the most difficult because we wanted it and suffered.

“We started on a new path with a lot of scepticism around us, we gave everything, despite some slip-ups.

“It was a complicated year for everyone in the world, it was difficult to return after so many months not playing.”

Juventus extend record domination
Juventus are one of three European teams to be on a run of nine titles in a row, alongside Celtic in Scotland and Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria.

The world record for consecutive league titles is thought to be Tafea, who won the Vanuatu league for 15 seasons in a row (1994 to 2009), while Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps and the now dissolved Skonto of Latvia have the European record with 14 in a row.

Lyon won seven French titles in a row (between 2002 and 2008), while Real Madrid have won five consecutive Spanish titles twice and Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are the only teams to win three in a row in England.

Within Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – Juventus’ 36 titles is a record, two ahead of this season’s Spanish champions Real Madrid.

SourceBBC

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