Cristiano Ronaldo, Claudio Ranieri Hail 'NBA-Style' Juventus Goal vs. Sampdoria

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 19, 2019

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C) scores a header during the Italian Serie A football match Sampdoria vs Juventus on December 18, 2019 at the Luigi-Ferraris stadium in Genoa. (Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Claudio Ranieri were each left in awe after the former scored a sensational "NBA-style" winning header when Juventus emerged as 2-1 victors away to Sampdoria on Wednesday. 

The Bianconeri temporarily moved three points clear at the top of Serie A after Ronaldo achieved incredible hang time in the air to convert at the back post and clinch maximum spoils.

Ronaldo, 34, scored his 10th Serie A goal of the campaign just before half-time, and he told Sky Sport Italia (h/t AS) even he was surprised at how long he remained airborne:

"I'm very happy with the result. It's been a very difficult match against a Sampdoria team who played well. We managed to do even better and deservedly got this victory.

"The team played with a great attitude. The goal was great, especially because it was decisive for winning the three points. I didn't know I was up (in the air) so long."

Paulo Dybala put the visitors ahead with his volleyed goal at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, and Ronaldo helped take three points after Gianluca Caprari capitalised on poor Juventus defending:

Juventus captured Ronaldo's leap in GIF format:

JuventusFC @juventusfcen

THAT @Cristiano HAAAAANGTIME! ⛹️⚽️🔥 #SampJuve #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve https://t.co/S4skZU2y6u

Sampdoria manager Ranieri spoke to Sky Sport Italia (h/t AS) and said: "I'm very satisfied with the performance of the boys. When they (Juventus) scored goals like this, we just have to admire them as two masterpieces. Ronaldo scored in NBA style—he was up there for an hour and a half."

Ronaldo might have looked to his athletic peers in the NBA for improvement:

Simon Gleave @SimonGleave

Basketball players must jump this high all the time. Presumably Cristiano Ronaldo researched how they trained that skill and then worked his guts out to get to the same level. https://t.co/6SjzzJVHaQ

Digital illustrator BossLogic put his spin on Ronaldo's aerial acrobatics after the Portuguese towered above marker Nicola Murru to score:

BossLogic @Bosslogic

The latest @SpaceX launch was spectacular @Cristiano https://t.co/8Np2iKFlnf

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored in each of Juve's last four league games (five goals), and Maurizio Sarri's side would be five points worse off from those fixtures without his involvement.

Ronaldo has not managed to score in five consecutive Serie A matches since he joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018.

Second-place Inter Milan can move back to the top of the table if they defeat Genoa at home on Saturday, though Antonio Conte's side have failed to win their last three games across all competitions.

The Bianconeri don't return to league action until January 6, 2020, when they host Cagliari, but Ronaldo will hope to have another big impact when Juve face Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana on Sunday.