Cristiano Ronaldo may have sat out Juventus’ annual summer friendly against their youth team this week – but that didn’t stop the Portuguese superstar being the centre of attention.
The Juve stars took part in the warm-up game in Villar Perosa – a small commune in Turin – but Ronaldo, 34, missed out with “fatigue on his left adductor”.
But he was still in attendance at the game, which attracts local fans and families from the surrounding area who are given the chance to meet their heroes.
And following the full-time whistle, the locals repeated their yearly exploits by storming on the pitch to greet the Juventus stars.
Ronaldo, however, looked uncomfortable about the whole situation and was ushered off the pitch by a number of security guards.
The incident against Juventus’ B team has echoes of last year’s encounter, which was abandoned with just 20 minutes played after fans ran on the pitch to greet Ronaldo.
This year’s match didn’t have such problems, fortunately, as Paulo Dybala’s brace helped the senior squad run out 3-1 winners.
Former Chelsea winger Juan Cuadrado grabbed the other goal, with Juventus due to play one more friendly, against Tiestina this Saturday, before they turn their attention to the new campaign.
Maurizio Sarri’s side open their league campaign against Parma and will be hoping to have star man Ronaldo back to full fitness for that game.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Virgil Van Dijk have been shortlisted for the UEFA Player of the Year award.
While Ronaldo, a three-time winner, has been ever-present in the final three since the award was created in 2011, centre back Van Dijk makes his first appearance after helping Liverpool win the Champions League title last season.
Van Dijk was voted both the Premier League Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Year, and was instrumental in the Merseyside club’s sixth European Cup triumph.
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Two-time award winner Messi was the leading scorer in both La Liga (36 goals) and the Champions League (12 goals) last season but his Barcelona side fell in the semi-final stage to Liverpool, who overcame a three-goal deficit in the second leg to advance.
Ronaldo, who has won five Champions League titles, did not fare too well in Europe in his debut season with Juventus, the Italian side losing in the quarter-finals to Ajax.
However, he helped Juve seal their eighth successive league title with 21 goals and was voted the Serie A’s ‘Most Valuable Player’.