Cristiano Ronaldo has not yet broken Josef Bican's all-time goalscoring record in official matches, according to the Czech FA.

Superstar Juventus forward Ronaldo scored his 760th competitive goal in the 2-0 Supercoppa Italiana victory over Napoli on Wednesday.

It was reported by some that Ronaldo had surpassed Bican's benchmark, while others stated he had equalled it and alternative sources claimed the legendary Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague striker actually netted 805 - FIFA itself uses this number as an estimate.

Confused yet? Well, this wonderfully convoluted tale is complicated further by the fact Brazil legends Pele and Romario each claim to have scored 1,000 career goals – though both are disputed by official sources.

And to really compound the matter, the bright minds of the History and Statistics Committee of the Czech FA have been delving deep into the archives to reach the conclusion that Bican – who played internationally for Austria and Czechoslovakia – actually scored 821 goals, meaning Ronaldo would still need another 62.

Probably best we leave the explanation for this one to Jaroslav Kolar, the head of the committee…

"Who is the best goalscorer in football history? Josef Bican or Cristiano Ronaldo?" Was the question posed by Kolar on the official account for the Czech Republic national team.

"A simple question but a complicated answer." (We quite agree...)

Anyway, he added: "Mainly because from the whole amount of Bican's goals, you have to just pick up the official ones, which is complicated. 

"Our History and Statistics Committee of [the] Czech FA started to deal with this problem. We based our research on statistics from prestigious international statistical websites that state 805 goals with notice that goals scored by Bican in the Czech second division for Hradec Kralove are missing. 

"We managed to find them - by the way, it's 53 goals in 26 games and we also double checked every detail about Bican's league, cup and international matches. 

"After that, we came out with the official number of Josef Bican's scored goals. On behalf of the History and Statistics Committee of [the] Czech FA, we can proclaim Josef Bican scored 821 goals in official matches. 

"It means that Cristiano Ronaldo is not the best goalscorer in international history yet, and he has to work more to break this record."

So, that settles that argument then!

Or does it? Quite honestly... we have no idea.  

Cristiano Ronaldo believes Juventus' 2-0 Supercoppa Italiana victory over Napoli can bolster their confidence in the fight for the Scudetto.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in Reggio Emilia, netting the 760th goal of his incredible career - a strike that pulled him level with Josef Bican as the greatest goalscorer of all-time according to some estimates.

Substitute Alvaro Morata sealed the first silverware of Andrea Pirlo's tenure with the final kick of the game, although Juve were indebted to a penalty miss by Lorenzo Insigne and two magnificent saves from Wojciech Szczesny.

"It was a difficult match, very difficult, but we had an excellent attitude," Ronaldo told television reporters.

"Winning this cup is very important to gain confidence. We are very happy."

Wednesday's triumph saw Juve bounce back from a dispiriting 2-0 loss at Inter last weekend, a setback that left them 10 points shy of leaders Milan with a game in hand.

"We need a different attitude, we made a mistake with Inter," Ronaldo said.

"But it has passed. The important thing was to win today and it is a very important trophy because it can give us confidence for our growth in view of the next matches."

Naturally, Ronaldo is not giving up on Juventus winning their 10th consecutive Serie A title just yet.

"Milan and Inter are very strong, but the season is still long, a lot of games are left and, yes, I think we can win," he added.

"The road is very difficult but I think it is possible."

A goalless first-half in the Supercoppa Italiana started and finished with Cristiano Ronaldo thumping speculative efforts into the deserted stand behind the goal as he chased a record. Or was it a record?

The most notable Juventus contribution in between was Wojciech Szczesny's incredible point-blank save to stop Hirving Lozano giving Napoli the lead with a flying header.

It was far from the rousing response to Sunday's sound 2-0 defeat at Inter that Andrea Pirlo would have hoped for, even if the same scoreline eventually fell in his favour for the first silverware of a fledgling coaching career.

Gennaro Gattuso, manning the other technical area with his typical demeanour of an overworked nightclub bouncer (remember nightclubs?), is famously firm friends with Pirlo.

After falling short as the overmatched apprentice against a masterful Antonio Conte at the weekend, the hirsute Juve boss would probably have preferred to pit his wits against anyone but the man who arguably knows him better than anyone in football.

They were an irresistible combination of silk and steel in the midfield as Italy won the 2006 World Cup and Milan lifted major prizes at home and abroad, while Pirlo's often cerebral autobiography is peppered with stories of juvenile practical jokes played at the expense of an easily riled Gattuso.

The playmaker was infamously allowed to joined Juventus on a free transfer in 2011, launching a dynasty alongside Conte that he is now charged with preserving,

Pirlo's glorious autumn of his playing career led Gattuso to play down his own influence upon his mate's earlier success in inimitably forthright terms.

"Don’t talk nonsense," he baulked in a 2017 interview when asked if he helped to make Pirlo a better player. "Let’s not confuse Nutella with s***"

Wednesday's encounter in Reggio Emilia was frequently closer to the undesirable end of that Gattuso spectrum, although any goalkeeper would gladly smear Szczesny's intervention to deny Lozano all over their pancakes.

Too often, Pirlo's Juve look like they're wading through a giant tube of chocolate and hazelnut spread. The are stodgy and lack flow - the notion that this team is more attractive than Massimilano Allegri's all-conquering side is fairly laughable.

But after half-time, they rolled up their sleeves in a manner in which Gattuso would have grudgingly approved.

Federico Bernardeschi, on for the ineffective Federico Chiesa, nearly scrambled home untidily shortly after the restart.

Kostas Manolas almost put through his own goal in the 64th minute and, from the resulting corner, Napoli played a crueller prank on their coach than anything Pirlo ever subjected him to. They failed to mark Ronaldo in the six-yard box.

Of course, the master marksman made no mistake and rammed home left footed for the 760th goal of his career. That puts him ahead of the great Josef Bican in some all-time rankings, although FIFA say the Austria and Czechoslovakia great has an "estimated" 805 to his name.

By most observers' best estimates, Lorenzo Insigne was surely going to send the game into extra time by converting an 80th-minute penalty after Weston McKennie's clumsy bundle into substitute Dries Mertens.

Insigne was one of the bright sparks in a drab a game and faced up to his own landmark of 100 Napoli goals. But, in another act worthy of the Pirlo-Gattuso slapstick scrapbook, he scuffed a woeful spot kick wide.

Further Szczesny heroics were required before Juan Cuadrado streaked clear to tee up Alvaro Morata to make it 2-0 win the final kick of the game.

Juventus are not playing beautiful football in their coach's image, far from it. But they celebrated with gusto at full-time having banished the end-of-empire stench that accompanied their efforts against Inter.

Have they turned the corner? Will this spark them into a convincing title defence in Sere A? Much like whether or not Ronaldo has broken another record, plenty of questions remain.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has earned a share of more history… or, at least, he might have.

It may sound cryptic but Ronaldo's latest remarkable goalscoring feat is sure to be a bone of contention.

The 35-year-old's effort in the 2-0 Supercoppa Italiana win over Napoli means he is now on 760 professional goals during his illustrious career.

That tally in some quarters matches the number accumulated by Josef Bican, who played internationally for Austria and Czechoslovakia between 1933 and 1949.

However, there are those – including FIFA's official website – who credit Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague legend Bican with scoring 805 goals in 530 matches, an astonishing 1.52 goals per game (FIFA also clarifies 805 is an 'estimated' number).

The discrepancy appears to centre around the fact that some historians include Bican's efforts for Rapid's second team, while others do not.

What is not up for dispute is the remarkable feats of either player and Ronaldo continues to reach new benchmarks as he approaches his 36th birthday.

Of his 760 goals, 311 were scored in LaLiga, while he has 134 in the Champions League and 84 in the Premier League.

Additionally, Ronaldo has a sensational 102 goals for Portugal and his 450 during nine years with Real Madrid is a Los Blancos record.

No club has been on the receiving end of Ronaldo's brilliance more than Sevilla, who have conceded 27 times to the former Manchester United star, with Atletico Madrid second on 25.

The most prolific season of Ronaldo's career was 2011-12 when he scored 69 times, the same amount he achieved in the calendar year of 2013.

Ronaldo has scored three goals in a game 46 times, while one on eight occasions he has celebrated four and twice five in a single game, and there are 57 direct free-kicks and 133 penalties to his name.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 760th goal in professional football helped deliver Supercoppa Italiana glory for Juventus as they beat Napoli 2-0 after Lorenzo Insigne's penalty miss.

Having seen their aspirations of again retaining the Serie A title dealt a blow by a 2-0 loss to rivals Inter, Juve could have been considered vulnerable to a Napoli side coming off a 6-0 thumping of Fiorentina.

But Andrea Pirlo's men grew into the game in the second half and Ronaldo rewarded their efforts with what proved to be the decisive goal in the 64th minute.

Pirlo's first title as Juve head coach came with a dramatic conclusion, however, Insigne incredibly chipping wide from the spot after Weston McKinnie had felled Dries Mertens before Napoli were caught cold on an injury-time counter and Alvaro Morata's simple finish sealed the Bianconeri's ninth Supercoppa crown.

An open but low-key first half was light on chances until Wojciech Szczesny had to produce a reaction to keep out Hirving Lozano's diving header from Diego Demme's cross in the 28th minute.

Ronaldo went close with a dipping effort from the left side of the box that narrowly cleared the crossbar 12 minutes later and it was Juve who started the second half brighter.

Davide Ospina had to be alert to prevent Federico Bernardeschi from scoring within a minute of his half-time introduction after good work from McKinnie.

Ronaldo then prodded narrowly wide after getting ahead of a throughball from Arthur, but he made no mistake when Bernardeschi's corner deflected into his path, lashing home from point-blank range.

Insigne had a golden chance to erase the deficit 10 minutes from time after Paolo Valeri pointed to the spot following a VAR review. He sent Szczesny the wrong way but shot woefully wide of the left-hand post.

The excellent Szczesny produced a fine 94th-minute save with his legs to deny Insigne and glory for the Bianconeri was sealed as Cuadrado broke free soon after and laid the pass on for Morata to stroke home.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are three of the superstars who have been voted into UEFA's Men's Team of the Year by fans, with Virgil van Dijk also included despite missing a chunk of 2020 through injury.

Fans had from November 30 to January 6 to cast their votes, and a host of predictable names made the cut, though Champions League winners Bayern Munich dominate.

There are five players from Bayern's treble-winning 2019-20 in the team, including Robert Lewandowski – winner of The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year award – and Thiago Alcantara, who has since joined Liverpool.

The other Reds player in the side is Van Dijk even though the Dutch centre-back has only played five Premier League games this season due to a serious knee injury.

However, earlier in the year he inspired Liverpool to their first league title since 1990.

Ronaldo was named in the side for a 15th time after helping Juventus to another Scudetto.

Messi earned his 12th inclusion despite failing to help Barcelona to LaLiga success in what was a largely difficult year for the Blaugrana and their captain.

UEFA confirmed the final selection for the women's team as well, with six players from Lyon's Women's Champions League-winning squad in the side.

 

Men's Team of the Year:

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany); Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich and Germany), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid and Spain), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool and Netherlands), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich and Canada); Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/Liverpool and Spain), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium); Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil).

Women's Team of the Year:

Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon and France); Lucy Bronze (Lyon/Manchester City and England), Kadeisha Buchanan (Lyon and Canada), Wendie Renard (Lyon and France), Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea and Sweden); Kheira Hamraoui (Barcelona and France), Amandine Henry (Lyon and France), Delphine Cascarino (Lyon and France), Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir (Wolfsburg/Lyon and Iceland); Danielle van de Donk (Arsenal and Netherlands), Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg/Chelsea and Denmark).

A little before the midway point of the season, heading into Sunday's Derby d'Italia, you could argue Inter have Juventus just where they would have wanted them.

Antonio Conte was brought to San Siro in 2019 and strongly backed in the transfer market with the primary aim of ending the dynasty he launched back in 2011-12 in Turin.

Juve have won every Scudetto since then but are four points behind Inter having played a game less.

Unfortunately for Conte, the Nerazzurri aren't the only side with designs on ripping away the Bianconeri's long-held crown.

Milan remain top of the table despite succumbing to a 3-1 defeat to Juve earlier this month, where they were subjected to arguably the most authoritative display of the fledgling Andrea Pirlo era.

Nine points separate Milan from Atalanta, Napoli and Lazio in fifth, sixth and seventh. Like fourth-place Juve, the former two have a game in hand on the leaders.

Inter are their local rival's nearest challengers, three points from the top and three better off than third-place Roma, who were left with wounded pride by Friday's 3-0 derby defeat to Lazio.

Struggles for consistency and congested title races can be seen across Europe as the effects of truncated pre-seasons and packed schedules continue to shake out.

However, the firepower up front for Inter and Juve provides a strong case for both breaking clear of the pack, while promising a thrilling high-stakes shootout at San Siro.

Lukaku-Martinez partnership brings joy

Conte's second and final season in charge of Chelsea in 2017-18 was soured before kick-off as Manchester United beat him to the signature of Romelu Lukaku.

It was clear that state of affairs did little for either man by the time they finally came together at Inter before the start of last season.

Had Lukaku ranked himself as being among the top five strikers in world football, as he did last month, during the 2019 transfer window, plenty would have sniggered.

But the big Belgian has put a patchy spell at Old Trafford behind him to shine at San Siro.

 

Since the start of last season, Lukaku has 51 goals in all competitions - placing him fourth among players across Europe's top five leagues during that period, in between Lionel Messi in fifth and a certain prospective weekend opponent who is five goals better off.

While not quite as prolific, Argentina international Lautaro Martinez has been a more than able accomplice, racking up 31 in 73 matches over the past season and a half.

Nevertheless, despite this mountain of goals and Inter being Serie A's top scorers, there is a sense that Conte's front two could be more clinical.

No player in the big five leagues with 25 goals or more to their name since the beginning of 2019-20 has a lower shot conversion rate than Martinez's 12.4 per cent.

While Lukaku's conversion rate in 2020-21 is comparatively healthier at 27.9 per cent, in Serie A alone his nine goals from open play come in below an expected goals (xG) figure of 9.8 (Lukaku's three converted penalties do not figure in Opta's xG calculations).

The concern for Conte is that this relative wastefulness takes a heavier toll on the big occasion.

Inter crashed out of the Champions League after winning a solitary group match and have failed to win any of their four Serie A matches so far against last season's top six - a run continued by the raucous 2-2 draw with Roma last time out.

Ronaldo finds ideal foil in Morata

An obvious fear from an Inter perspective is that issues Martinez and Lukaku might have on the grandest stages will only be magnified by comparison to who they face this weekend.

No man in the 21st century has hit the heights of goalscoring obsession known by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Even if Juventus do not have the rampaging version that thrilled at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Ronaldo is raging against Father Time with utter conviction when it comes to putting the ball in the net.

Only Robert Lewandowski - way out in front on 78 - has more than the Portugal great's 56 in the big five leagues from August 2019 onwards.

Among that group of attackers with 25 goals or more, Ronaldo has fired off the most shots with 354. Messi (329) and Lewandowski (297) are not particularly close behind.

Chillingly for opponents, he has found much greater efficiency this season. Ronaldo's shot conversion rate is 23.5 per cent in 2020-21 so far, a 10 per cent increase on the prior campaign. His 11 open-play goals in Serie A have an xG value of 7.9.

 

If there is a new level of serenity to Ronaldo's play, part of the credit can perhaps go to the man alongside him. 

Alvaro Morata was the third corner of the tangled Lukaku-Conte transfer triangle back in 2017, his time at Chelsea proving to be as sapping as Lukaku's at United. A loan to Atletico Madrid arrived midway through 2018-19. 

Despite that move being made permanent, another loan back to Juventus came prior to the current campaign. 

Under his old team-mate Pirlo, Morata looks like a player reborn, scoring 11 times in all competitions. Only four of those have been in Serie A but his seven assists over the course of the campaign are already more than he managed in the past two completed seasons - casting him as the ideal supporting act to Juve's indisputable lead performer. 

One of the best five in the world, one of the greatest of all time, Argentina's next superstar striker or the quiet man from Madrid. On Sunday, one of them is set to step forward and add a key twist to a gripping Scudetto race.

Alvaro Morata rates the "incredible" Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the best players of all time and intends to tell his children he played alongside the Juventus forward.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has scored 19 goals in 18 games in his third season with Serie A champions Juve.

Morata returned to the Allianz Stadium from Atletico Madrid on an initial loan deal last September and has chipped in with four goals and five assists in 12 league outings.

The pair also spent time together at Real Madrid and Morata says it is a pleasure linking up with the Portugal captain once again.

"It's easy to play with him," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I've known him for some time. On some occasions when a normal person wouldn't score, he scores. 

"In Parma I gave him an assist that only he could see and understand. I understand his movements and what he likes to do. 

"I often take his men away by moving, and I think it helps him not to always have two or three players around him. It's a pleasure to play with him.

"He is still one of the best in football history. He's great, has incredible quality and he can play wherever he wants, whether it is as a number nine, 10 or 11. 

"I can only enjoy it every day, and I hope to support him for a long time to come.

"It's a pride for me. I grew up watching him and when I got here thinking about playing with him and [Paulo] Dybala thrilled me. 

"They are players of a higher level. We have an excellent relationship even off the pitch. I will tell my children that I played with them."

Juventus travel to second-placed Inter on Sunday aiming to bridge a four-point gap to their opponents, whom they have a game in hand over.

As well as pitting together two Italian giants, it will also be a clash between Serie A's two highest scorers this season - Ronaldo (15) and Romelu Lukaku (12).

The 27 goals the pair have netted between them is more than 12 Serie A clubs have netted in total this season.

Morata is looking forward to coming up against another of his former colleagues in Lukaku and hopes to swap shirts with the prolific striker after the match at San Siro.

"Romelu is one of the best strikers in the world, he is complete," the Spaniard said. "He is also a great person, someone I like to see play. 

"At the end of the match I will ask him for the shirt as a souvenir. We will try to stop him on the field, even if it will be difficult. 

"Lautaro [Martinez] is a more versatile player, but Lukaku does things where you can't stop him."

Sunday's Derby d'Italia clash will be the 175th in Serie A history, with Juve's 84 victories in this fixture the most for a team against a single opponent in the Italian top flight.

Former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand believes there are similarities between Amad Diallo and club legend Cristiano Ronaldo as he talked up the new Red Devils sensation.

United completed the signing of Diallo from Atalanta in January – the 18-year-old winger penning a four-and-half-year contract to be tied to the Premier League giants until June 2025.

While he only made five first-team appearances and scored once for Serie A outfit Atalanta, Diallo arrives in Manchester highly rated and as one of Europe's most exciting talents.

Ferdinand likened Diallo to five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, who was lured to United from Portuguese powerhouse Sporting CP as a baby-faced 18-year-old in 2003 before going on to take the world by storm.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours at Old Trafford prior to his blockbuster move to Real Madrid, where he played between 2009 and 2018.

"We've just bought a kid in from Atalanta and hopefully he does something," Ferdinand said on Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE podcast after United reportedly spent £37million on Diallo.

"If you see his clips and speak to people at the club who are involved in buying him, potentially this kid could be a world-beater.

"That is the thought of Manchester United people that this kid is one they have unearthed.

"I don't want to put the pressure of Ronaldo on him, but no-one knew about Ronaldo when we bought him other than the people in Portugal.

"This kid seems similar in that sense and if you see his clips and the way people talk about him, the world is his oyster if he applies himself right."

Robert Lewandowski has paid tribute to Jurgen Klopp for the impact he had on the striker's path to being crowned the best player in the world last month.

Bayern Munich star Lewandowski won The Best FIFA Men's Player award for 2020 after starring as Die Roten claimed a Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal treble.

Between July 20, 2019 and October 7, 2020 – the period considered for the award – Lewandowski scored 60 club goals in 52 appearances across all competitions at a rate of one every 76 minutes.

He beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize, with the Pole effectively recognised the best footballer in the world in the absence of a Ballon d'Or winner in 2020.

Lewandowski has enjoyed immense success since joining Bayern in 2014, though he already looked destined for greatness during his time at Borussia Dortmund, where Klopp had begun to mould him into the lethal forward he is now.

Writing in a reflective piece for the Players' Tribune in the wake of his FIFA award win, Lewandowski said of the current Liverpool boss: "Jurgen was not only a father figure to me. As a coach, he was like the 'bad teacher'. And I mean that in the best sense of the word.

"Not the one who made life easy for you and never expected anything from you, but the one who was strict with you. The one who put pressure on you and did everything to get the best out of you. That's the teacher who made you better. Jurgen was like that.

"He was not content to let you be a B-grade student. Jurgen wanted A+ students. He didn't want it for him. He wanted it for you.

"I could talk to Jurgen about anything. I could trust him. He is a family man, and he has so much empathy for what goes on in your private life."

Lewandowski took a season to truly adapt to German football after joining from Lech Poznan in his native Poland, as he only netted eight Bundesliga goals in 33 games during the 2010-11 campaign.

That remains the only season he has failed to reach double figures for league goals during his time in Germany, and Lewandowski considers Klopp's influence to be a major part of his improvement.

"He taught me so much," the striker continued. "When I arrived at Dortmund, I wanted to do everything quickly: strong pass, one touch only. Jurgen showed me to calm down — to take two touches if necessary.

"It was totally against my nature, but soon I was scoring more goals. When I had that down, he challenged me to speed it up again.

"One touch. BANG. Goal. He slowed me down to speed me up. It sounds simple, but it was genius, really."

Lewandowski's shot conversion rate rose from 13.1 per cent to 22.5 after his first season with Klopp and has never dipped below 20 per cent since.

In fact, the 32-year-old appears to be getting better with age, given his best ever return in terms of shot conversion was posted last term (29.8), and he is well on track to obliterate that personal best in 2020-21.

With 20 goals in 14 Bundesliga games, the Polish marksman is converting 44.4 per cent of his opportunities.

 

Andrea Pirlo claimed his players showed they possess the "Juventus DNA" to keep fighting until the end of games this season.

Juve were far from their best in a scrappy Serie A clash with Sassuolo on Sunday and with nine minutes remaining were drawing 1-1 after Gregoire Defrel cancelled out Danilo's opener.

But late goals from Aaron Ramsey and Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the win for the defending champions against a Sassuolo side who played the entire second half with 10 men.

Ramsey has been involved in three goals in his past five Serie A appearances (one goal, two assists) while Ronaldo's strike ensured he has reached at least 15 league goals in his past 15 seasons.

The win helped the Bianconeri notch three consecutive victories in Serie A for the first time since July 2020 as they moved to within seven points of leaders Milan with a game in hand.

"We can improve our quality, we can play better or worse, but the determination is an element that must never be lacking," Pirlo told a post-match media conference.

"It has to be in the Juventus DNA, the determination and desire to push until the last minute.

"It was important for us to give a sense of consistency by winning this evening, otherwise the win at Milan on Wednesday wouldn't mean anything.

"We were a little sluggish at times this evening, but we became a little less organised and more determined, so we showed the hunger required to win the game.

"We are Juventus and therefore have the pressure on us to win every game. We have to face every match as if it's a final, then we'll see where we are closer to the end of the season.

"These games are fascinating to play for everyone, they inevitably raise the concentration levels and the tension too.

"If we don't play every game with the right concentration and determination, we will struggle."

Juve head coach Pirlo also said the club will assess injuries sustained by Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie.

The pair both limped out in the first half against Sassuolo and are doubts for Juve's midweek Coppa Italia clash with Genoa.

He added: "Dybala had a knock to the collateral ligament on the inside of his knee. We'll evaluate it over the next few days and hope it's nothing serious.

"McKennie already had a slight muscular problem yesterday and he felt it again after the back-heel flick, so he stopped."

Cristiano Ronaldo unlocked a stunning new career achievement when he netted late on in Juventus' 3-1 win over Sassuolo on Sunday.

It meant the Portugal forward became the only player to score at least 15 goals in each of the last 15 seasons in the top five European leagues.

Ronaldo first hit double figures in a league season in 2006-07 when he was a Manchester United player, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances.

Remarkably Ronaldo, who turns 36 next month, has not dropped below that tally in a full season ever since.

Ronaldo's best league season was the 2014-15 campaign at Real Madrid where he scored an incredible 48 goals in 35 LaLiga games.

His great rival Lionel Messi has managed to reach 15 goals in 12 consecutive seasons at Barcelona since the 2008-09 campaign, and with 11 so far in LaLiga should make it 13 this year.

Ronaldo actually scored his first Serie A goals when Juve beat Sassuolo 2-1 in September 2018, and he has now scored five goals against them in five meetings in the competition following his goal on Sunday.

Ronaldo's value to Juventus is emphasised by their record with and without the Portugal forward.

Juve's win percentage is 72.4 with him which drops down to 46.7 without him, with an average of 2.3 points per game compared to 1.7.

The Bianconeri's average goals scored with Ronaldo on the team is 2.1 per game and drops down to 1.5 when he is absent, and they are better defensively with him involved too, conceding an average 0.9 goals versus 1.1 without him.

Juventus earned a 3-1 win over 10-man Sassuolo as goals from Danilo, Aaron Ramsey and Cristiano Ronaldo kept them in touch with Serie A leaders Milan.

Sassuolo had frustrated the Bianconeri in the first half but their combative approach saw Pedro Obiang sent off moments before half-time.

Danilo put Juve ahead five minutes into the second half with a powerful long-range strike, yet Sassuolo equalised with a fine finish from Gregoire Defrel.

Sassuolo looked on course to take a point but late goals from Ramsey and Ronaldo secured the victory for Andrea Pirlo's side.

Andrea Pirlo hailed the spirit in his Juventus team after they defeated Serie A leaders Milan 3-1 to continue their revival but said he is ignoring results of the teams above them.

The Bianconeri made it three wins from four league matches as Federico Chiesa scored a brace and Weston McKennie netted at San Siro as Milan's 27-match unbeaten run in Serie A was ended.

The result moved Juventus up to fourth in the table, seven points behind Milan with a game in hand, on a night when second-placed Inter lost 2-1 at Sampdoria.

"It was important for us," Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia, reflecting on the result.

"We weren't interested in the results of the teams above us, as we were concentrated on our own progress.

"We'll see in a few months where we are.

"The important thing was this spirit of a team that wants to be in control, especially against the Serie A leaders on their own turf."

Pirlo picked out Chiesa for praise after he took his Juventus goal tally to five since joining on a two-year loan from Fiorentina in October 2020.

The Juve head coach said dynamic attacking performances were the reason they agreed a potential deal to pay Fiorentina up to €50million (£45.3m) for Chiesa when his loan expires.

"We signed him so he could take men on in the final third," said Pirlo, who deployed Chiesa on the right wing behind a front pairing of Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"His position might change, but his role does not."

Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci echoed his coach's call to ignore the results of teams around them, saying his team-mates are focused on Sunday's clash with in-form Sassuolo.

"Our objective is now to beat Sassuolo, that is all," said Bonucci.

"We have to get a run of victories to become more credible and even more of a team."

Federico Chiesa scored a brilliant brace as Juventus ended Milan's unbeaten start to the season and clinched a crucial 3-1 victory that moves the Serie A champions up to fourth in the table.

Andrea Pirlo's men produced a scintillating attacking display to become the first team to beat leaders Milan in the league in 28 matches and did so without leading scorer Alvaro Morata.

Ably assisted by Paulo Dybala on both occasions, Chiesa scored with confident finishes in either half and Milan's waves of attacking pressure found Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in fine form before Davide Calabria found the net.

The Bianconeri, who added a third through substitute Weston McKennie, will hope this was a turning point in a tumultuous season, having played with the guile and poise they have lacked for so much of it, while Milan will reflect on a missed opportunity to extend their lead at the top to four points after Inter lost to Sampdoria.

Juventus' high press overwhelmed Milan early on and Paulo Dybala tested Gianluigi Donnarumma from six yards before Chiesa crashed a thunderous shot onto the post.

With 18 minutes played the Old Lady's superb start paid dividends, Dybala's smart back-heel sending Chiesa into the area and the Fiorentina loanee sent a low shot bouncing into the far corner of Donnarumma's net from 12 yards.

Juve had Szczesny to thank for keeping them ahead with a string of saves but he was powerless to stop Calabria's shot from finding the top corner after the lively Rafael Leao teed him up – although Juventus claimed Adrien Rabiot was fouled in the build-up.

Szczesny got down well to save Diogo Dalot's powerful 20-yard shot as Milan came out firing after the interval but Juve weathered the storm before Aaron Ramsey missed a golden chance to give them the lead, shooting wide from close range with just Donnarumma to beat.

Just after the hour mark, Chiesa struck again, Dybala picking him out on the edge of the box where he bent a superb left-footed shot into the far corner.

Chiesa then left the field with an injury and was replaced by McKennie, who swept home Juventus' third in the 76th minute after a jinking run through Milan's defence by fellow substitute Dejan Kulusevski.

What does it mean? The fightback is on

Juventus have now won three of their last four Serie A matches and are playing with real verve.

Having had such a short pre-season with his side, Pirlo has been playing catch-up but his expansive, fast-attacking style of play seems to be finally bearing fruit as his players cut out defensive errors.

Dybala at his best

Dybala's two assists were as incisive and spectacular as Chiesa's finishes and the Argentina international also won six duels to help Juventus stay on top.

Leao rues missed chances

Milan could have been ahead at half-time had Leao made more of the clear-cut chances that fell to him and, despite his assist for Calabria's goal, he will remember this game for his three unsuccessful shots at goal.

Key Opta Facts

- Juventus have won 14 of their last 16 Serie A games against AC Milan (L2).
- AC Milan are enjoying the third-longest streak of Serie A consecutive matches with a goal: 36. In the history of the competition, the only two longer streaks have both been by Juventus: 43 in 2014 and 44 in 2017.
- Federico Chiesa has been involved in six Serie A goals against AC Milan (3 goals, 3 assists).
- Prior to Wednesday, the last time a player twice assisted the same Juve team-mate was in February 2018 against Sassuolo (Federico Bernardeschi to Gonzalo Higuain).

What's next?

Milan are at home against struggling Torino on Saturday, and Juventus entertain in-form Sassuolo a day later.

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