Benched Ronaldo ‘silences’ critics with defiant Instagram message as Juve seal Champions League spot and star breaks more records
Football icon Cristiano Ronaldo has attempted to silence critics with a cheeky 'Shhh' post on Instagram, after Juventus sneaked into the Champions League despite ceding the Serie A title to bitter rivals Inter Milan.
The Portuguese superstar, who has the most followers on the social media platform of any athlete or celebrity, made his post around midnight in Italy.
It contained a pair of images, with the first a dramatic black and white portrait of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner putting an index finger up to his lips as if to demand quiet.
In the second, there was a snap of the whole Juventus team including under-fire manager Andrea Pirlo celebrating having gained qualification to Europe's biggest competition on the last day of the season.
As Ronaldo wasn't in it, he might have taken it himself.
But in any event, he captioned the uploads "Fino Alla Fine" with white and black flags and closed prayer hands, as commenters dubbed him "Mr. Champions League".
A Juventus motto meaning "Until the end", Ronaldo also included his "Ssssiiiiiimmmm" ('Yes' in Portuguese) catchphrase usually uttered when he scores, in addition to a tensing muscle and fist bump emojis.
Yet the 36-year-old neither scored nor featured in the Bianconeri's campaign closer against Bologna, with the move appearing tactical from Pirlo as the attacker wasn't carrying an injury.
In the vital tie, a sixth-minute opener from Federico Chiesa was complimented by a brace from Alvaro Morata as Adrien Rabiot also scored to seal a 4-1 win.
Cristiano Ronaldo is not injuried. He’s not starting today due to “technical decision” made by Andrea Pirlo. Juventus are playing for a Champions League spot in the last match and Cristiano will be on the bench for the fifth time in three season as Juventus player. 🇵🇹 #Juve— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 23, 2021
Yet they still depended on other results stuck in fifth in the Italian top flight table, which thankfully went their way when Napoli fluffed their lines by drawing 1-1 at home to Verona.
With his position under threat for the next campaign, Pirlo might have sealed another term at the helm by clinching the Coppa Italia midweek and UCL football yesterday.
"We are happy for the coach, it was his first season and it was not easy," star defender Giorgio Chiellini told DAZN.
Chiellini 🗣: “We are very happy, it was an important game, but we depended on others. We finished a difficult season but we won two trophies and so next year we'll play in the #UCL. We are happy for Andrea (Pirlo) and it’s right for us to celebrate.” pic.twitter.com/BNC27EiFrz— JuveFC (@juvefcdotcom) May 23, 2021
"We breathe a sigh of relief as fifteen days ago, after the defeat against Milan, I thought this was an impossible result to achieve.
"If we had had this commitment for the entire season, we wouldn’t have been in this situation. [But] we can’t have regrets, Inter deserved to win the title.
"We won two trophies this season and we can play the Champions League in the next campaign. Today we were playing for two seasons. This one and half of the next one," he concluded.
Back with Ronaldo, and Pirlo's snub didn't get in the way of further impressive personal achievements in a glittering career.
His 29-goal haul made him the first Portuguese winner of the Capocannoniere top-scorer award in Serie A.
And in turn, he therefore became the first player to achieve such a feat in the best leagues of England, Spain, Italy.
These golden boots were also achieved in three different decades, and caused long-term admirer Piers Morgan to, like many others, claim CR7 is superior to a certain generational rival at FC Barcelona.
"Messi’s a genius but he’s never challenged himself in different leagues like Ronaldo. That’s why Cristiano is the GOAT," the controversial presenter wrote.
On Monday morning, Juve then announced him their season MVP via an official post on Twitter, in a sweetener it is hoped will make the vetern stay on at the Allianz Stadium.
The promise of Champions League football will certainly help, after reports of an early-morning removal of his seven luxury cars last week sparked rumors he was already planning a summer exit from Turin.Also on rt.com Ron the move? Early morning removal of Ronaldo’s luxury cars fuels further rumors of Juventus exit (VIDEO)
Former boyhood club Sporting Lisbon has been touted as a possible destination, with the player's mother Dolores promising "I'll talk to him to bring him back," to Record.
"Next year he will play in [Sporting stadium] Alvalade," she added, following the club's first Liga win in 19 years.
Agent Jorge Mendes poured cold water by saying: "Cristiano is proud of the title won by Sporting, in fact, as he has publicly demonstrated."
"But at the moment his career plans do not go through Portugal."
However PSG and even former outfits Manchester United and Real Madrid have also been linked to his capture.