Juventus host Inter on Friday in a match that pits two of Serie A’s biggest names against each other,as Cristiano Ronaldo and Mauro Icardi go head to head.
Icardi was crowned Serie A’s player of the year on Monday, and Ronaldo will certainly have that title in his sights as he bids to establish himself in Italy following his €112-million move from Real Madrid.
But a look at the pair’s stats suggest that Ronaldo – a five-time Ballon d’Or winner – will have a job on his hands to unseat the league’s established star.
Friday’s clash presents the first opportunity to see Ronaldo and Icardi in direct competition, but Opta’s data indicates the latter has a frighteningly good record against the Bianconeri.
Since his first meeting with Juve, only six clubs have managed more goals against the defending Serie A champions than the Argentine striker’s eight (Sampdoria 13, Napoli 11, Fiorentina 11, Inter 9, Roma 9 and Verona 9).
Icardi is also a far more clinical goal-scorer than Ronaldo and boasts a 27% shot conversion rate in the league so far this season.
Ronaldo, by comparison, has converted only 10% of his shots.
There is no question that Ronaldo’s return of 10 goals in 14 Serie A matches is mighty impressive – Icardi has eight in 11 – but the Inter man is finding the net every 108 minutes compared to Ronaldo’s 125.
For all of the past claims that Ronaldo can be a selfish player, one of the Portugal international’s strengths since joining Juve has actually been his chance creation.
Stretching back to the end of his time in Madrid, Ronaldo has been involved in 40 goals in his last 27 league games across Serie A and LaLiga.
The 33-year-old has created 25 chances in the league, compared to only 12 from Icardi, and providing the assists for five goals to Icardi’s two.
And Juve as a team have enjoyed the better of things so far this season, sitting 11 points clear of third-placed Inter at the top of the table after 14 matches. Napoli are second, eight points adrift.
With that in mind, Inter will be desperate to close the gap in Turin on Friday. They will be wary of the threat posed by Ronaldo, but know that they have a man of their own who has proven himself to be more than a match for Serie A’s new boy.
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