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'Ronaldo has exceeded Juventus' expectations' - Nedved in awe of a man 'much more than a player'

2:23 PM GMT 18/02/2019
Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus
A former Bianconeri star who is now a director at the Turin club admits that the Portuguese superstar has made a stunning impact in Italian football

Cristiano Ronaldo has exceeded expectations at Juventus, admits Pavel Nedved, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner considered to be “much more than a player”.

The Portuguese superstar completed a €100 million (£88m/$113m) move to Turin during the summer of 2018.

After nine trophy-laden and record-breaking years at Real Madrid, Ronaldo was eager to make a fresh start and made Italy his preferred destination.

Juve are delighted to have him, with the 34-year-old showing no sign of slowing down having passed the 20-goal mark once again and quickly secured a standing as a talismanic presence in new surroundings.

His arrival is considered to have lifted the Bianconeri, who have won seven successive Serie A titles, to even greater heights, with club director Nedved telling the Telegraph: “With Cristiano Ronaldo joining it has improved the mentality.

“There always was a strong, winning mentality but there is something that he has brought which has influenced the rest of the team, that has affected them and has made them even more confident.”

Quizzed on whether Ronaldo has been all that Juve hoped he would be, Nedved added: “No, he’s even more than that.

“We knew him as a player but now we know him as a person and we’ve all been really impressed by his personality, his character. He is much more than a player.

“The way I describe Juventus is that it exactly matches with him. Ronaldo is a Juventus player. It’s a perfect fit and it is the perfect mentality.”

Nedved knows all about what it takes to star for the Bianconeri having spent eight years on the club’s books in his own distinguished playing career.

He claimed an enviable haul of major honours and the 2003 Ballon d’Or during his time in Italy.

The Czech could, however, have emulated Ronaldo by gracing both Juve and Manchester United had his admiration for English football led him down a Premier League path when at the peak of his powers.

“I’ve always appreciated English football and the Premier League, I’ve always liked it,” said Nedved.

“My agent received some offers and I have always been a great supporter of Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson, specifically, at that time.

“They were certainly one of our greatest opponents and also a great source of inspiration and drive and desire.

“He [Ferguson] achieved great things, unprecedented things and I don’t know if anyone else in the future will be able to achieve what he did.”