Giorgio Chiellini believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘personality’ has made Juventus Champions League contenders as defender names Zlatan Ibrahimovic as toughest opponent
- Giorgio Chiellini claims Juventus can win the Champions League this season
- The defender believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence makes them contenders
- Chiellini said: ‘Before the Champions League was a dream. Now it’s a target.’
- He also revealed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was his toughest ever opponent
Giorgio Chiellini has hailed the impact of summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo and believes his ‘personality’ has transformed Juventus into Champions League contenders this season.
The Portuguese star has made a quick transition to life at Juventus since his £100million move from Real Madrid, scoring 14 goals in 19 Serie A appearances so far this season.
Ronaldo, 33, has helped Juve establish a commanding nine-point lead at the top of the table and qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Giorgio Chiellini says Cristiano Ronaldo’s turned Juventus into Champion League contenders
The Italians have come close to European glory in the recent years but Chiellini feels with Ronaldo’s presence that they are now capable of going all the way.
‘Cristiano scored many, many, many times against us and he broke my dreams many times – in Cardiff, in Madrid, in Turin,’ the defender told BBC Sport.
‘Before, the Champions League was a dream. Now it is a target because Cristiano is the best player in the world and we need him to make the last step.
The Portuguese star has settled in well at Juve since £100m summer move from Real Madrid
The defender feels Ronaldo’s personality can help them win this season’s Champions League
The Juventus forward pictured scoring in their group game against Man United in November
RONALDO’S STATS THIS SEASON SO FAR…
‘It’s the personality of Cristiano. He has fantastic skills in the field but out of the field, his attitude – how he works, how he prepares for the match, how he lives every day of his life – can help us. The team has changed.’
Juventus face a tough challenge in the first knockout phase of the competition, having drawn Atletico Madrid in the last 16.
The La Liga side have some potent attackers in their ranks in Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa and Chiellini will be tasked with stopping them.
The experienced defender has come up against some of the best strikers of his era but who has been his toughest opponent?
Chiellini looking down after losing Champions League final to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid in 2017
The 33-year-old has won the final five times, including last season’s against Liverpool
‘I would say [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic,’ the Italian added. ‘He’s a fantastic player who in Italy has made a difference. He’s very physical and uses it to dominate the match.
‘Now, also [Inter Milan’s] Mauro Icardi. Icardi works in the box. He doesn’t like so much to play out of the box but in the box he’s a killer.
‘But I try not to let the striker score his favourite goal. This is my work and surely I have some skills. I’m not fast like [Juve defender] Douglas Costa but I’m stronger and I can use the head and move one second before to not risk a situation.’
The experienced defender also named Zlatan Ibrahimovic has his toughest ever opponent