Ronaldo gives Juventus the edge in Champions League quarter-final first leg

Cristiano Ronaldo debuted his new golden hairdo with a diving header to earn Juventus a precious away goal against Ajax in a 1-1 draw in the Champions League quarter-final first leg but the Italian press warned on Thursday the young Dutch team remain dangerous after eliminating three-time holders Real Madrid.

“CR7, Golden Head,” headlined Gazzetta Dello Sport and said it was “a new masterpiece” by the 34-year-old who extended his record goal tally to 125, exactly 12 years after his first one in the competition.

“The Emperor is back,” wrote Corriere Dello Sport as Ronaldo played for the first time since his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid sealed Juventus’s comeback and a quarter-final berth.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had been an injury doubt after picking up a thigh issue playing for Portugal two weeks ago.

But he shrugged off the injury, pouncing acrobatically on Joao Cancelo’s cross on the stroke of half-time, only for Brazilian winger David Neres to level just after the break with all to play for in next week’s return leg in Turin.

“Happy to come back and score another goal in this amazing competition. Well done team! #finoallafine (until the end),” Ronaldo wrote afterwards on Twitter.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri said his side “could have done better” to close down Ajax, even if a goalless draw on Tuesday would be enough to see Juventus through to the semi-finals for the third time in four years.

“A step forward, but remember Real Madrid,” said Italian daily La Repubblica.

“Juve will do well not to forget Madrid. Not that of the Atletico, but Real.

“They should remember that Ajax had lost at home and scored four goals at the Bernabeu.”

Ronaldo’s path to a fourth European trophy in as many seasons remains on a knife edge against a fearless Ajax who dumped Real out in the previous round after a thrilling 4-1 victory in Spain.


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