Cristiano Ronaldo nets 600th club goal as goalscoring race heats up
MILAN — Cristiano Ronaldo’s unrelenting hunger for goals is plain to see.
The Juventus forward netted his 600th club goal on Saturday and celebrated with typical joy. But his desire to score was far more evident in the first half against Inter Milan when he fired over the bar and showed anguish and frustration.
That appeared to spur Ronaldo to the equalizer after the break as Juventus came back to draw with bitter rival Inter 1-1 in Serie A.
“Ronaldo is lethal, I have him, and I’m happy,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “It’s important to have a player like him. After he missed a chance he got very angry, then he played a different game.”
Ronaldo already plays a different game to most. And after alreading clinching a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title, Ronaldo could become the first player to win the top goalscorer award and the Serie A title in his first season in Italy.
The 34-year-old Ronaldo has 20 league goals for Juventus, three less than league leader and Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella.
He could also become the first player to win the top goalscorer award in three of Europe’s top five leagues, having claimed the prize in Spain (three times) and England.
There are four rounds remaining.
Ronaldo has been playing and scoring regularly, even while being accused of raping a woman in 2009 in the United States — something the Portugal star denies.
The strike against Inter Milan was his 27th for Juventus in all competitions. Ronaldo scored 450 for Real Madrid, 118 for Manchester United and five for Sporting Lisbon.
“With him you always start in front, we are lucky to have him with us,” Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini said. “He will help Juventus win more.”
Earlier in the season, Ronaldo became the first player to net 400 goals across Europe’s top five leagues.
Roma fans are starting to believe the reports that Antonio Conte could become the club’s next coach.
With Claudio Ranieri in a caretaker role following Eusebio Di Francesco’s firing, speculation is rampant that Roma is in talks with Conte about taking over the team for next season.
When Conte, the former Juventus, Italy, and Chelsea coach, was spotted at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport on Sunday, Roma fans stopped him for selfies and spread the word on social media — even though it appeared Conte was merely traveling to his home in Turin.
While the Roman-born Ranieri has said he would like to remain with Roma, even he acknowledged the club would do well to hire Conte.
“I would love to see him on the Roma bench, but I don’t know anything: I would be the last to know,” Ranieri said with a smile following Roma’s 3-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday. “I would be super happy if Conte came in. I would go and collect him from the airport.”
Retired Roma captain Francesco Totti, who has a position in Roma’s management, called Conte “one of the best coaches in Europe.”
“Wherever he’s gone he’s won. Any squad would do something crazy to get him,” Totti said, adding that there are also reports that Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are interested in Conte. “There are a lot of squads chasing him.”
Fresh off qualifying for the Italian Cup final, Atalanta has announced plans for a complete overhaul of its Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium.
Work on the 40 million euro ($45 million) project will begin following Atalanta’s game against Udinese on Monday, meaning the team will play its final two home matches of the season in Reggio Emilia at Mapei Stadium, Sassuolo’s ground.
The three-phase project should be completed in time for the 2021-22 season, at which time the stadium will be renamed Gewiss Arena.
Atalanta beat Fiorentina on Thursday to advance to the May 15 Cup final against Lazio.
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