Cristiano Ronaldo was on the winning side in 11 consecutive finals for club and country between August 2014 and June 2019.
He has now lost two in a row for the first time in his professional career.
The Coppa Italia may not have been a priority for Ronaldo, but defeat hurt.
The Portuguese cut a frustrated figure in Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia loss to Napoli, which only piled further pressure on the Bianconeri boss
He was visibly frustrated by the fact that he did not even get to take a penalty in Wednesday night’s 2-4 penalty shootout defeat to Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico, with misses from Paulo Dybala and Danilo having already put paid to Juve’s hopes of victory.
There was no guarantee, of course, that Ronaldo would have scored.
He missed a spot-kick in last week’s semi-final against AC Milan and he had not performed well in that game in Turin either.
However, he was atrocious in Rome, the worst player on the pitch, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport.
Former Juve forward Luca Toni certainly was not impressed. “At the moment,” he mused on Rai Sport, “Ronaldo struggles to even beat his man.”
This defeat was not really about Ronaldo, though. Not primarily, anyway. The main talking point right now is not that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is playing badly — but why he is playing badly.
The finger of blame is being pointed firmly at Maurizio Sarri.
The Juventus coach cut an agitated figure even before the final, upset that the media was making a lot out of the fact that he had never won a major Italian trophy.
Afterwards, he just looked forlorn.
“I didn’t say much to the players after the game,” he admitted to RAI. “I was angry and disappointed just like them, so at these moments it’s best to stay silent.”
By complete contrast, Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso could not wait to thank his players for giving him the first trophy of his coaching career.
Indeed, the one good thing about the game being played behind closed doors was that television viewers were able to listen in on the former Italy midfielder’s rousing post-match speech.
“I saw heart and I saw character,” he told his troops. “There are people here whose contracts are expiring and they’re going to leave. But I see them crying. I’m so proud of you.”
While Gattuso was hailing his players’ passion, though, Sarri was lamenting his side’s lack of “sharpness”.
Such sluggishness could, of course, be attributed to the three-month suspension of play caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
However, it is not as if Juve were playing well before the break. Indeed, they have won just four of their last 10 games in all competitions.
Sarri was hired by Juve to not only win trophies, but do so in style. Right now, they are doing neither. — Goal.com.