Cristiano Ronaldo gets nod for Juventus debut against Chievo

Coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will play the season opener.

Cristiano Ronaldo (in picture) is an “added value” in the Juventus side, says Allegri.   -  AP

Cristiano Ronaldo is curious to find out about life in Serie A and will make his debut in the opening match of the season for champions Juventus against Chievo in Verona, coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed on Friday. Allegri said the 33-year-old was eager to play in Serie A after his EUR 100 million (USD 117 million) transfer from Real Madrid last month.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has appeared in two warm-up friendlies for Juventus but did not travel with the team to the United States. “I didn't give Ronaldo any advice. He's very intrigued to understand how teams play in Italy,” said Allegri as Juventus begins its campaign on Saturday.

Read: Bale ready to replace Ronaldo at Real Madrid

“Ronaldo will make his debut. (Wojciech) Szczesny, (Giorgio) Chiellini, (Leonardo) Bonucci and (Miralem) Pjanic will play and the two full-backs on each side will be (Joao) Cancelo and Alex Sandro. Everyone is in good condition, even (Mario) Mandzukic and (Blaise) Matuidi, who both went all the way to the final in the World Cup.”

‘Feet on the ground’

But Allegri warned his team not to rely too much on the Portuguese superstar as it targets an eighth straight Serie A title. “It's time to put aside the excitement of the arrival of great players and the greatest of all, we have to keep our feet on the ground, keep a low profile,” continued Allegri.

“We mustn't make the mistake of thinking that we can win because we have Cristiano. He's an added value in a team that has played two Champions [League] finals in the last four years,” he said. “Players like Ronaldo are different from all the others: it shows in what he has won, he is a stimulus for everyone. It will be a difficult campaign and we need to be prepared and remain focused, because tomorrow at 18:00 (1600GMT) the season begins and we will find a tough Chievo side waiting for us. I'm curious to see how the team fares.”