Juventus players take part in a training session. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
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."
Ronaldo, who left Manchester United under a cloud after slamming the club in a TV interview, will appear at Al Nassr's 25,000-capacity Mrsool Park stadium in Riyadh at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, officials said.
Cristiano Ronaldo converted a 96th-minute penalty as Juventus defeated Thiago Motta’s Genoa 2-1 to reclaim top spot in Serie A on Wednesday, while Napoli were left seething
Cristiano Ronaldo is in line to return from a brief rest on Wednesday as Serie A leaders Juventus host a Genoa side reinvigorated by the appointment as coach of former Italy midfielder Thiago Motta.
Eighteen Pakistan players and 15 support staff are due to travel to India. Earlier, the PCB had expressed its disappointment with the ICC over the delays.
UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation announced that its four-strong dressage team has passed the vet check and will go on to compete on Tuesday, in the team competition and individual qualification.
Lock Thibaud Flament studied at Loughborough University in England, full-back Melvyn Jaminet had never played a Top 14 game and winger Gabin Villiere was a second-team scrum-half in the French fifth-tier before bursting onto the international scene.
Batting first India reached 116-7 in their 20 overs with Smriti Mandhana (46) and Jemimah Rodrigues (42) putting on 73 for the second wicket. Sri Lanka's chase started badly when they were reduced to 14-3 in the fifth over by a devastating spell from right-arm seamer Titas Sadhu.