One Loss with Big Implications for Juventus

    • Juventus was bounced from the Champions League tournament by Porto, a loss that could have big implications for the team's future.
    • Central to that are the fates of star Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Andrea Pirlo.

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When Italian soccer giants Juventus crashed out of the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday, they lost more than a notable European game.

A second straight failure to make the UCL quarterfinals dropped the team’s stock price by 9% the following day. The club has been hit hard by the pandemic and resulting attendance bans, and its stock price has been stuck 30% lower than its pre-COVID mark, per Bloomberg.

Questions loom, from the stability of inexperienced coach Andrea Pirlo to the tenure of 36-year-old superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The legendary Portuguese forward, who received ample blame for Porto’s clinching free-kick goal, is signed through June 2022 and is the face of the Juve brand. The team’s stock more than doubled over the summer of 2018 when it brought in Ronaldo from Real Madrid.

The Nike-sponsored athlete’s presence has been credited for the team’s renewed agreements with brands like Allianz, which holds the club’s stadium naming rights, and Jeep, which signed a $55 million-per-year renewal on its jersey sponsorship deal in December.

“The renewal of [Ronaldo’s] contract is not an issue on the agenda for the immediate [future] — there is time to talk about it,” said team sporting director Fabio Paratici.

As for Pirlo, the club confirmed that he will remain through May, with the board deciding then whether to retain him. Much of that decision hinges on overcoming their 10-point deficit to Serie A leaders Inter Milan.