Ronaldo scoops Serie A award on day Messi beats him to record Ballon d'Or

By Sports Desk December 02, 2019

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has officially been named the best player in Serie A last season, a few hours after Lionel Messi beat him to a record sixth Ballon d'Or crown.

Ronaldo dodged the glitzy Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris on Monday to instead attend the annual Gran Gala del Calcio in Milan, where he was honoured for his successful maiden campaign with Juve.

He scored 21 league goals in 2018-19 to help the Bianconeri to an eighth successive Scudetto and has six goals in 11 starts this term, despite injury issues curtailing his playing time over the past month.

"It is a proud moment to win this award," Ronaldo said upon collecting the award, which was won by Mauro Icardi, then of Inter, 12 months ago.

"I want to thank my Juventus team-mates. It was my first year in Serie A, a difficult league, and I am very happy. Thank you for voting for me.

"I will now try to repeat what I've done over the next year."

Ronaldo has been struggling with a knee injury in recent weeks and reacted angrily to being hauled off in wins over Lokomotiv Moscow and Milan last month.

However, Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici insisted the Portugal international – who finished third in the Ballon d'Or running behind Messi and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk – will remain in Turin beyond the end of the campaign.

"This talk makes me smile because there are other problems," Paratici told Sky Sport Italia.

"Ronaldo is ambitious and came to Juventus to prove he is the best here too. We thought he should have won the Ballon d'Or – the rankings are always questionable.

"He will be a Juventus player next season, without a doubt. 

"We must thank him for making himself available to [Maurizio] Sarri, even though he has not been in optimal condition. Having not been able to train properly for a while, it is normal that he is not at his best."

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    However, City are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli and Sevilla's Jules Kounde is the "backup option" but a bid has already been turned down.

     

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    "We evaluated the Suarez option when it was proposed to us. He was in the process of getting Italian citizenship, so we evaluated the possibility of registering him in time.

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    While Suarez is off the list, Juve – led by rookie head coach Andrea Pirlo – continue to be linked with Roma's Dzeko.

    Dzeko's proposed move to Juve is reportedly tied to Roma signing Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik as a replacement in the Italian capital.

    Amid uncertainty over this future, Dzeko was an unused substitute in Roma's goalless draw at Hellas Verona on Saturday.

    "Let's say there isn't a Dzeko situation, it's a striker situation, as Juventus need a centre-forward," Paratici said as Juve reportedly try to re-sign Moise Kean from Everton. "We know what we want and are working towards that calmly, there are 15 days to go in the transfer window and we're in no rush.

    "There are other situations, not just Dzeko. We know what we want. We're working for a striker who can work with Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.

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    Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso acknowledged Kalidou Koulibaly is likely to leave the Serie A club but he would be happy to keep the star defender.

    Koulibaly has been strongly linked with Premier League giants Manchester City and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain as Napoli look to raise funds following the club-record signing of Victor Osimhen.

    The 29-year-old Koulibaly played as Napoli opened their 2020-21 Serie A season with a 2-0 win at Parma on Sunday and Gattuso hailed the in-demand centre-back, who has also reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United.

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    "He has always given me great availability and always trains well. I would be sorry to lose him, both for the man and for the player.

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    Osimhen made his debut for Napoli, coming off the bench to inspire the visitors as Dries Mertens and captain Lorenzo Insigne scored against Parma.

    Gattuso added: "It's not about numbers, but the principles of football. We know Osimhen is an added bonus, but we need to run before we have quality, because quality is not enough on its own.

    "We must set out the team with the right concepts and protect the defence, but we knew that Osimhen could give us another gear in the final 20-25 minutes today.

    "Osimhen is a lad who, in the 25 days I've been working with, I can tell doesn't forget where he started from, who made sacrifices, lost his family very young and has the head of a 40-year-old on 21-year-old shoulders.

    "I am confident he won't change, as he has a great attitude and at this moment is a better player than he's so far shown on the pitch."

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