'Ronaldo will struggle to get 40 goals in Italy' – Albiol warns former Real Madrid team-mate
The Napoli defender will lock horns with the Portuguese superstar at some point this season and says “defensive” Serie A does not suit his style
Cristiano Ronaldo has been warned by former Real Madrid team-mate Raul Albiol that he will struggle to get 40 goals for Juventus this season.
The Portuguese superstar has grown accustomed to hitting that mark during a remarkable career which has seen him redefine the art of goalscoring.
Ronaldo has broken through the 40-goal barrier in each of his last eight campaigns, with 50-plus recorded six times and more than 60 efforts notched on two occasions.
A record-breaking spell in Spain has, however, been swapped for a stint in Italy with the reigning Serie A champions.
The 33-year-old is yet to get off the mark through three fixtures and Albiol, who spent four years alongside Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu before heading to Napoli, expects one of the best in the business to find the going tough in new surroundings.
The Spain international defender told AS: “It’s true that in Italy, football is more tactical and defensive, as well as being very physical, so you have to know how to play.
“Cristiano’s a great player with tremendous quality, but in Italy it’ll be harder for him to score 40 goals.
“Also, I hope he doesn’t because it would be good for Juventus but bad for Napoli.”
While Albiol feels Ronaldo may be contained on more occasions in Italy than he was in Spain, he is aware that slow starts are nothing new for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The modern day icon did likewise last season and still ended the campaign with Real with 44 efforts to his name, including 15 in Europe as he claimed a fifth Champions League winners’ medal of a trophy-laden career.
“He also started slowly with Madrid last season,” said Albiol.
“He didn’t score goals at the start of the campaign, yet he finished up again with some mindboggling numbers.
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“If Cristiano has spent his entire career scoring bags of goals every season, it’s not by chance.”
Ronaldo will get another chance to open his account for Juve on Sunday when the Bianconeri play host to Sassuolo.
He should enter that contest feeling fresh, with Portugal having agreed to leave him out of their latest squad for the start of UEFA Nations League competition.