Can Cristiano Ronaldo end his winless run in make-or-break Atalanta encounter?

As rumours about his future continue to emerge, Juventus' Portuguese talisman must perform in a crucial fixture for the club's European hopes.

On Sunday, the Portuguese forward threw his shirt in anger upon hearing the final whistle in Bianconeri's 3-1 win over Genoa.

Despite being downplayed by Ronaldo himself and dismissed by manager Andrea Pirlo, the incident appeared to a number of Juventus fans as a reactionary vent of frustration in correspondence to the Turin outfit's lacklustre season so far.

With Antonio Conte's high-flying Inter Milan side emerging as a dead cert to win their first league title for the first time in over a decade, a number of clubs below I Nerazzurri have become embroiled in a fierce fight for the Champions League places - and Juventus' clash with Atalanta this weekend could enormously influence said standings come May.

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Sitting just one point behind Juventus in third, Atalanta have enjoyed another successful season under Gian Piero Gasperini thus far. If they emerge victorious in Lombardy, they will emphatically leapfrog Pirlo's men with just seven games left to play.

In addition, the fixture will provide a perfect occasion for both sides to gain a psychological advantage over their respective opponents in anticipation of May's Coppa Italia final.

As Napoli and Lazio continue to breath down the neck of the all-important top four places, it is imperative Juventus create some breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack with a victory.

Should another calamitous league and cup collapse occur, the future of Andrea Pirlo is likely to be reassessed in Turin, whereas Cristiano Ronaldo's will be undeniably decided - it's make or break time for Juventus.

Stat attack

Remarkably, Atalanta remain an anomaly in many of Ronaldo's records in Italy - the Portuguese international has faced La Dea on five occasions across all competitions and never won a game, drawing four and losing once.

The loss in question occurred in the 2018/19 Coppa Italia, where Juventus slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the Gewiss Stadium in the quarter-finals. Atalanta made it all the way to the final but were beaten 2-0 by Lazio.

With three goals and no assists in five appearances against Gian Piero Gasperini's side, CR7 averages 0.6 goal contributions a game against them.

Ronaldo has recorded one brace in his previous meetings, scoring twice in a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Stadium to rescue a point.

Since his arrival in Turin, Juve have recorded one victory throughout the Portuguese international's tenure - a 3-1 league win in Lombardy that saw him ruled out due to a knee injury.

Tip of the Fixture

Another win will be crucial for Juventus if they are to evade anymore perilous periods of inconsistency under Andrea Pirlo. They are likely to be frustrated in large periods of the game should they underestimate an Atalanta side chasing a European dream once again.

Both teams to score and Juventus to win the game is priced at 3/1 on Sky Bet.

Atalanta 2-2 Juventus

Serie A

December 26, 2018

Maintaining Juve's undefeated start to the Serie A season, Ronaldo came off the bench to score a late equaliser that kept 10-man Juventus top of the league on Boxing Day, nine points clear of second-placed Napoli.

The visitors went ahead after just two minutes when Atalanta centre-back, Berat Djimitisi clumsily sliced his attempt at clearing an early Juventus cross and the Albanian hopelessly watched as the ball looped into Etrit Berisha's goal.

Duvan Zapata equalised for Atalanta in fantastic fashion after 24 minutes. The player received the ball on the edge of the box, effortlessly spun in between Juventus' centre-backs before placing a superb strike past Wojciech Szczesny to the delight of the home faithful.

Juventus were reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Rodrigo Bentancur was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Things went from bad to worse when Zapata put Atalanta ahead with his second of the occasion, heading home from close range.

As the visitors persisted in their pursuit of an equaliser, Max Allegri turned to the experience and reliability of Ronaldo to regain a foothold for his side in the game, and his decision was quickly rewarded.

Following a goalmouth scramble from an in-swinging corner, the ball fell perfectly to the Portuguese international who slammed the ball home from yards out to secure a dramatic point for the Old Lady.

Juventus 2-2 Atalanta

Serie A

July 11, 2020

Another 2-2 draw and another encounter in which Ronaldo snatched a point for Juve.

Ronaldo scored twice from the spot to bring Juventus from behind both times at the Gewiss Stadium. As a result, I Bianconeri moved eight points clear at the top of Serie A en route to a 36th league title.

After a bright start, the visitors took the lead through Zapata, who struck a low-drilled curling effort past Szczesny after a well-worked team move from La Dea.

Despite controlling large spells of the first half, Atalanta were unable to capitalise and were punished 10 minutes into the second when Paulo Dybala was brought down in the penalty area, allowing Ronaldo to level proceedings.

Ruslan Malinovskiy's thunderous right-footed effort regained Atalanta's lead in the 80th minute, bringing them to the brink of a famous win in Turin as I Bianconeri desperately pushed for an equaliser.

In what concluded a frustrating night for the north-western Italians, they squandered yet another lead to yet another penalty as Luis Muriel's clumsy handball gifted Ronaldo a crucial chance to score his brace - and score he did, recording his 28th goal in 28 appearances.

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