Throwback: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus bench role sparked chants for Lionel Messi in Seoul friendly

Players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are global stars. This means that their popularity extends beyond soccer, which gives them more star power across the world. Their past clubs have greatly benefited from them for perks beyond just soccer. As one of the most marketable players in the world, this was the case with Juventus, which Ronaldo joined in 2018.

Ronaldo’s global appeal extends to South Korea, where Juventus had their pre-season friendly tour in 2019. In a friendly match against a South Korean side in the tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo was rested, leading to an uproar from the indigenes, who paid hefty ticket prices to watch the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in action.

Ronaldo’s absence sparked outrage

Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s most famous sportsperson. The hardworking Portuguese star has the most followers on Instagram, 613 million, more than 100 million ahead of his closest rival, Lionel Messi, who has 494 million followers on the social media platform.

Ronaldo Port
Source: Wallpapers

Due to his popularity, Ronaldo is a big star, even in Asian countries like South Korea, where Juventus spent their pre-season tour in 2019. During an arranged friendly between the Italian giants and a South Korean team in Seoul, Cristiano Ronaldo spent the entire game on the bench, leaving fans who had paid a lot of money to watch him in action in disbelief.

“We strongly urge Juventus to offer a sincere apology and explain the reason for Ronaldo’s no-show,” K-League, the country’s top-division league, said in a statement.

Ronaldo Seoul 1
Source: The Statesman

It was later revealed that Juventus had signed a contract to play Cristiano Ronaldo for at least 45 minutes. However, Maurizio Sarri opted not to play the Portuguese icon in the presence of 65,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.

Some even started chanting Lionel Messi’s name in an attempt to taunt Cristiano Ronaldo for his no-show in South Korea.

When did Cristiano Ronaldo leave Juventus?

News broke out in August 2021 that Manchester City were in talks with Juventus to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. Juventus had deemed Ronaldo surplus to requirements due to the high numbers involved in keeping him at the club. This sparked massive unrest at the Red side of Manchester, with Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly getting on a call with Ronaldo to warn him of how he might be damaging his United legacy if he joined City.

Source: CaughtOffside

Fast forward to a few days later, when United announced the return of Cristiano Ronaldo on social media in one of the most popular posts ever on Instagram as far as football is concerned. United had paid Juventus a small transfer fee in the range of $20 million to secure the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo for the second time.

Ronaldo enjoyed a tremendous first season before a disappointing second season, which ended in the termination of his contract after an ill-advised interview with Piers Morgan, who has since been a fierce supporter of the Portugal international, even going as far as terming the 2023 Ballon d’Or ‘rigged’ because Lionel Messi won it.

Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be having a great post-United period, with the prolific forward scoring his 50th goal in 2023 a few days ago.


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