Alessandro Del Piero Thinks Juventus Can Win UCL with Cristiano Ronaldo
The legendary Juve forward said "the plan is going perfectly so far" after Ronaldo's hat-trick saw the Old Lady turn over a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16:
They have been drawn against Ajax in the quarter-finals:
Ronaldo is looking to win his fourth Champions League title in a row, and sixth in total, this season after transferring to Juventus from Real Madridfor £99.2 million last summer.
Del Piero said he wasn't surprised that Juve were able to turn the tie around, and he hailed Ronaldo's influence, per Marca's Jon Prada:
"[Juve winning the second leg] wasn't a big surprise for people like me who have known Juventus for some time. For those of us who know the club, the mentality and the players, this was something that could happen. It wasn't unbelievable. It wasn't easy, but they played a perfect match. ...
"[Ronaldo's hat-trick is] what Juventus bought him for. He is a champion who has won this title and who knows what it's like to play these difficult matches, with good football and by scoring goals. He is focussed on the objective. Juventus signed him for this and the plan is going perfectly so far. ...
"Ronaldo could pick whatever team he wanted to go to in the world and it was a good piece of business that he picked Juventus. ...
"The project is about winning the Champions League with Ronaldo, and he signed for four years. If you can win it in the first year then even better."
Juventus have won Europe's biggest prize twice in their history, most recently in 1996.
They have lost two recent finals, one to Real in 2017 and the other to Barcelona in 2015, but will be hoping the addition of Ronaldo can give them the final impetus to go all the way.
The 34-year-old is a Champions League specialist and is the top scorer in the tournament's history.
Ajax put in two fantastic performances to see off Real in the last 16 and are not a side to be taken lightly.
But the strength of Juventus' squad means they will go into the tie against the Dutch side as favourites to advance to the semi-finals.
Ronaldo had endured a notably barren season in the Champions League before the second leg against Atleti after registering just a single goal in six appearances.
But his treble against the Spanish side was not unexpected, as Ronaldo has so regularly produced his best when needed in the knockout rounds of Europe's premier club tournament:
If the former Manchester United man can continue that form into the later rounds, Juve will have a fine chance of securing the trophy for the third time in 2019.