ROME: Juventus maintained their monopolistic command of Italian club football after beating Sampdoria to clinch a record-extending ninth successive Serie A title and 36th in all.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 31st league goal of the season from Miralem Pjanic’s short free-kick in first-half injury time and Federico Bernardeschi sealed the victory after 67 minutes.
Maurizio Sarri’s side are the only team to win nine consecutive titles in one of Europe’s top five leagues. It extends their own record, which Bayern Munich had matched in June.
Ronaldo missed the chance to get closer to Ciro Immobile’s tally of 34 at the top of the Serie A goal charts as he struck a penalty against the bar in the final minutes. The Portuguese superstar has scored 10 goals in 10 games since the resumption. Ronaldo is the only player ever to have won league titles in England, Spain and Italy.
#uventus had missed the chance to claim the title in what manager Sarri described as a “messy” defeat at Udinese on Thursday and began Sunday’s match with just one win in their last five games.
They were far from their free-flowing best and were forced to withstand plenty of pressure in the second half but Bernardeschi’s goal from Ronaldo’s saved attempt ensured former Chelsea manager Sarri won the first league title of his managerial career.
Sampdoria’s hopes of finding a way back into the match ended as they were reduced to 10-men following a second booking for Morten Thorsby.
Ronaldo’s goal sees him move to within three of leading Serie A goalscorer Immobile, who scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Verona earlier on Sunday.
The world record for consecutive league titles is thought to be Tafea, who won the Vanuatu league for 15 seasons in a row (1994 to 2009), while Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps and the now dissolved Skonto of Latvia have the European record with 14 in a row.
Lyon won seven French titles in a row (between 2002 and 2008), while Real Madrid have won five consecutive Spanish titles twice and Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are the only teams to win three in a row in England.
Within Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – Juventus’ 36 titles is a record, two ahead of this season’s Spanish champions Real Madrid.