Cristiano Ronaldo Says Juventus Ready for 'Beautiful Part' of Champions League

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 13, 2018

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 27:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus greets the fans prior to the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Juventus and Valencia at Allianz Stadium on November 27, 2018 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has said he and Juventus are ready for the knockout stages of this season's UEFA Champions League despite Wednesday's surprise 2-1 defeat to Swiss minnows Young Boys. 

The Bianconeri still did enough to top Group H after Ronaldo's former club Manchester United lost 2-1 at Valencia. The Portuguese told reporters the "beautiful part" of the competition can now commence:

"Now the beautiful part of the Champions League starts, and I'm confident we will be fully ready for it.

"I'm calm because I know the potential of this team and my potential.

"I could have scored a couple of goals easily, but this is football; we just have to start to focus on the next game."

Ronaldo's first European campaign in Juventus colours hasn't gone exactly to plan, and manager Massimiliano Allegri will be hoping for improvement in the knockout stages, per Sky Sports Statto:

The former Real Madrid star got off to a nightmare start in the group stage and was shown a red card less than 30 minutes into his Champions League debut for the Bianconeri against Valencia.

Those missed 150 minutes of football help explain Ronaldo's low group-stage return, and he'll be hoping to make up for lost time in the last 16.

The 33-year-old has a certain reputation to uphold, particularly in Europe, where he has finished the past six seasons as top scorer in the Champions League (joint alongside Lionel Messi in 2014-15):

Juventus were somewhat fortunate to still qualify at the top of Group H after Guillaume Hoarau scored twice for Young Boys to give Wednesday's hosts a surprise victory in Bern.

That result meant Manchester United would have secured top spot had they beaten Valencia at the Mestalla, but Jose Mourinho's men came up similarly short in their away trip.

Ronaldo was so anxious to make the difference for Juve that he prevented a late Paulo Dybala shot by attempting to reach for the ball in an offside position (U.S. only):

More chances will come in the round of 16, and after winning this competition three seasons running with Real Madrid, Ronaldo will look to ignite a new European legacy in Turin.

The draw for the Champions League round of 16 takes place at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday.

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