TURIN: Juventus secured their eighth Italian league title in succession with five games to spare as Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated winning a title in a third major European league.
Needing only one point to seal their 35th league title overall, the runaway leaders fell behind to an early strike from Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic but Alex Sandro brought them level after 37 minutes before German Pezzella turned Ronaldo’s shot into his own net.
This result was the perfect tonic to their shock midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax, with Ronaldo now able to celebrate adding another league title to those he won with Manchester United and Real Madrid.
The Portuguese legend bagged three Premier League crowns during his time at Old Trafford (2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09) before triumphing in La Liga on two occasions (2011–12, 2016–17).
Ronaldo, who is the first player to ever achieve the feat of winning titles in all three of those countries, said: “I am very happy after winning in England and Spain now I win the title also in Italy. I cared about it and we held each other as a team.
“It was an excellent year, absolutely positive, we won the championship and the (Italian) Super Cup. In the Champions League, we will try again next year.”
Ronaldo’s only disappointment will be that he missed out on scoring his 600th club goal on his 800th appearance – although he did at least contribute to the winner.
The five-time Champions League winner’s most prolific era during his 17-season career was obviously in Spain with Real Madrid, for whom he scored 450 times in 438 games.
At Manchester United he netted 118 goals in 292 appearances following his early spell at Sporting Lisbon which heralded five goals while at Juventus he’s on 26 goals in 39 outings.
Juventus’ nearest distant challengers are Napoli, who are now 20 points behind on 67 ahead of their 34th game against Atalanta on Monday night.
Head coach Massimiliano Allegri is celebrating his fifth Serie A title with Juventus and sixth overall having also won it with A Milan during the 2010-11 season. However his hopes of leading them to a fifth consecutive league and cup double were ended by Atalanta earlier in the campaign.
Allegri was sprayed with foam on the pitch as well as being given a celebratory dunk in the team bath following Juve’s achievement, which is unmatched among the top five leagues in Europe.
The 51-year-old becomes the first coach to win five consecutive Serie A titles is the second most successful after Giovanni Trapattoni.
Allegri said: “The eighth scudetto won with five matches to play shows the importance of what has been done.
“In previous years we had some downturns, but this season, given also our fixture list, we had to put down the accelerator by force.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s club honours