Ronaldo returns to native Portugal to face Porto in Juventus colours

Juventus players Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League match between Juventus and Porto at JTC on February 16, 2021 in Turin, Italy.

Cristiano Ronaldo travels to his Portugal, donning the Juventus’ jersey for the first time, as the Italian giants take on Porto in their Champions League match on Thursday.

Juve are trying to keep their hopes alive of winning the continental title under the new coach Andrea Pirlo after having lost five finals since winning it last in 1996.

The European glory has eluded the Italian champions for 25 years.

juventus have dominated Serie A for the last decade without managing to win the Champions League. Porto, meanwhile, are the only club from outside the so-called 'Big Five' leagues in this season's last 16.

Both are two-time European Cup winners.

For the Turin side, success in Europe this season appears even more important as their domestic domination shows signs of faltering under Pirlo with hopes of a 10th consecutive Scudetto in peril.

A 1-0 defeat at Napoli on Saturday left juventus eight points adrift of leaders Inter Milan, albeit with a game in hand.

"This defeat will not bring us down," insisted Ronaldo.

"Let's raise our heads and think about the Champions League." Porto, meanwhile, have drawn their last four games domestically and are 10 points behind league leaders Sporting Lisbon.

Juve's hopes will be on five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, the Champions League record goal-scorer with 134 goals, signed from Real Madrid in 2018 to deliver them the trophy.

Ronaldo faces a Portuguese team for the first time since 2016 when with Madrid he beat his former club Sporting 2-1.

But his last Champions League visit to the Estadio do Dragao dates back to a quarter-final, second leg in April 2009 with Manchester United.

The tie was poised at 2-2 after a tricky first leg at Old Trafford.

But, six minutes in, Ronaldo gathered the ball 35 metres out to unleash a thunderbolt for the only goal of the game and send his side through.

Ronaldo has played 12 European games against Portuguese teams, split between Benfica, Porto and Sporting. He has four goals against them and as many assists.

"I expect to win but we know it's going to be very tough," Porto captain Pepe told UEFA.com.

The 37-year-old played alongside fellow Portuguese international Ronaldo at Madrid where they won three Champions League trophies together.

"In my opinion, they've got the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo," continued the Brazil-born defender.

"I've never played against him. So we've our work cut out for us.

"It will be a special match, more between Porto and juventus than the one between Pepe and Ronaldo.

"Porto have never yet beaten juventus. I hope this can be the first time."


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