The Coppa Italia final was something of a drab affair and even the multiple Ballon d’Or winner was not able to add a spark to proceedings.
Former Italy and Juventus striker Luca Toni has called out Cristiano Ronaldo for his poor performance in the Bianconeri’s Coppa Italia loss to Napoli on Wednesday night, stating that the Portuguese looked deeply “average” and that he “couldn’t even dribble”.
Ronaldo played 90 minutes of the showpiece clash at Stadio Olimpico but failed to find the net in what was a largely uninspiring performance from both sides.
Indeed, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner mustered only one shot on target and was unable to take a spot-kick in the decisive penalty shoot-out, with Paulo Dybala and Danilo both fluffing their lines early on before Ronaldo had a chance to beat Alex Meret from 12 yards.
Toni, an Italian World Cup winner and goalscoring icon, felt that the Portugal captain was lacking his usual sharpness and was unable to inspire the Serie A champions to cup glory as a result.
“I saw the a whole Juventus team in difficulty, even Cristiano Ronaldo, who looked like an average player in what was a very slow match,” 43-year-old Toni told Rai Sport after the clash.
“You expect a big performance from him but he looked like he was experiencing physical difficulties – he couldn’t even dribble a man.
“Buffon was the best player on the pitch. I liked Douglas Costa a lot too, but Sarri only let him play 60 minutes. [Douglas] Costa and [Juan] Cuadrado were the only ones able to beat their man because at the moment Ronaldo is struggling to dribble.”
Wednesday’s loss marks the only time in Ronaldo’s career that he has lost two successive finals, having been defeated by Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana at the tail end of 2019.
Regardless, Ronaldo’s sister took to Instagram after the match to stick up for her brother, stating that he can’t always be expected to win matches on his own.
She said: “What else can you do? It is what it is and my darling can’t work miracles alone. I can’t understand how they played like that. Anyway, keep your head up. You can’t do more, my king.”
This year’s Coppa Italia was the first in 11 years to be decided by a penalty shootout, and is the sixth time Napoli have lifted the trophy in their history – only four teams have won it more often.