In a small Italian town with a population of 4,000 people, 5,000 fans packed out the stadium to watch Cristiano Ronaldo score eight minutes into his first appearance in a Juventus shirt yesterday.
The club’s annual curtain-raiser – a friendly against the Juventus B team – is organised every year by the Old Lady owners, the Agnelli family, in the small town of Villar Perosa, outside of Turin.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, 33, who signed from Real Madrid for £99.2m in July, scored the first goal and created another in Sunday’s 5-0 victory, which attracted huge interest.
The town’s population swelled before the game, as the bars and restaurants were heaving with fans and media.
Fans chanted “Ronaldo, bring us the Champions League” during his 45-minute cameo and one supporter tried to hug the new number seven as he left the pitch at half-time.
The match was abandoned after 72 minutes due to the annual tradition of fans running onto the pitch.
After the game, players signed autographs and posed for photographs, while defender Leonardo Bonucci – who has rejoined the club after a year with AC Milan – was stripped to his underwear.
“Now the best team in the world has the best player in the world,” said John Elkann, the chair of Fiat, a company founded by the Agnelli family. “It’s great to see what a natural fit he [Ronaldo] is in the black-and-white shirt and how well he’s slotted into the team.
“Villar Perosa brings the Juve family together. This is a one-off moment, unique to Juventus, for all those who love the Bianconeri.”
The Agnelli family have invited the teams to play a friendly every year since 1955. Juventus B won the first game 3-2, but they have not beaten the first team in the match since 2005.