Ronaldo crucial to Juventus Champions League hopes, says Matuidi

The 33-year-old left the Serie A champions stunned when they met in the European competition last term, but he is now expected to fire them to victory

Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world and will make the difference for Juventus in the Champions League, says Blaise Matuidi.

Ronaldo, yet to score for Juventus , helped Real Madrid win the Champions League in four of the last five years, including defeating Juve in the 2017 final in Cardiff, when he struck a brace.

Juve also lost in the final to Barcelona in 2015 and are looking to bring an end to their 22-year stretch without a European crown this year.

The Italians face Manchester United, Valencia and Young Boys in the group stage, and Matuidi is backing Ronaldo to help the Serie A champions go far once again.

"Ronaldo has something different, we are talking about a player who has won five Ballons d'Or," Matuidi said to Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We can say that he is the best in the world and we can only be happy to have him with us.

"For sure his experience is one of winning a lot, especially in the Champions League.

"It will help us in the crucial moments of the season. We will see it at work, this time on our side."

Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford on October 23 to face his former side, but he will have to share the spotlight with United midfielder Paul Pogba.

As reports continue to speculate about Pogba's relationship with Jose Mourinho, the World Cup winner has been linked with a return to Juventus, with Barcelona also said to be interested.

"We've been joking with Paul," Matuidi said of his France team-mate. "We’ve arranged to meet on the pitch in Manchester.

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"Our group is hard, not just because of Manchester United, but also Valencia.

"They will be good matches though, we're prepared, we've been working hard in training to give it our all in the league and the Champions League.

“We have a very strong squad, with a lot of players who can express themselves over the season."

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