Giorgio Chiellini claims that Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Juventus has had a similar impact to that of Andrea Pirlo, only this time on a global scale.
The Bianconeri have never been short on world-class talent, with some of the finest players to have ever played the game having passed through their doors.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo is the latest superstar to have joined the ranks, with a stunning big-money deal having lured him away from Real Madrid over the summer.
The 33-year-old has made an instant impact in Italy, netting 11 times to date, and has helped to raise the profile of both Juve and Serie A – much like many of those to have gone before him.
Long-serving defender Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia of the marquee addition: “I think Cristiano Ronaldo has noticed what an important team he has behind him, particularly at Valencia.
“He’s helping us raise the bar, but we showed to always be a team at Mestalla and in any case, a match like that increases your self-esteem.
“He works in a way that we lacked before. He gives conviction to his environment. For example, Pirlo gave it to us in Italy and now Ronaldo is giving it to us on an international level.
“He’s a player who improves the whole team around him. He’s also filled the personality void left by Buffon’s farewell. It was like he’d never left.
“He’s crucial on and off the field. We elevate each other, highlighting our strengths. Our qualities come to the fore with people like him.”
Pirlo joined Juve from AC Milan in 2011 and helped to establish them as the dominant force in Serie A.
Ronaldo is now looking to cement that standing, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side already eight points clear at the top of the table and safely through to the last 16 of the Champions League.
Chiellini added on a side yet to suffer a domestic defeat this season: “Are we unbeatable? We’ve had some players out, but we’ve always been good at finding alternative solutions.
“I’m always wary because when everything is fine, a bad surprise is always around the corner and it normally comes in the form of injuries.
“We did well in Milan and Florence. We have a great squad and it’ll come in handy, especially at times when not all of us are at 100 per cent.
“We’ll prepare for our match against Inter [on Friday] without looking at the table but while knowing that it’ll be a very difficult match.
“It’s the game of the year for every fan, so we’ll have to play well and be careful.”