Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Messi and Ronaldo would be worse in Italy - Llorente

The Juventus striker believes the Barcelona and Real Madrid stars might find life more difficult against the defences of Serie A

Fernando Llorente Stefan Savic Fiorentina Juventus Serie A 05122014 Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would be worse forwards if they played their football in Serie A, according to Fernando Llorente.

Barcelona's Messi became the top La Liga goalscorer of all time last month, while Real Madrid have reaped the rewards of Ronaldo scoring 31 times in 21 matches for them in 2014-15.

But Llorente - who left Athletic Club for Scudetto holders Juventus in 2013 - believes that the high-scoring attackers would struggle if they swapped life in Spain for a career in Italian football due to the defensive focus that many teams have.

"Messi and Ronaldo are players from another planet," the 29-year-old striker told Cope. "But I'd like to see them in Italy.

"The defences are very tight here, with many players put behind the ball, so it would be more difficult for them to score goals."

Llorente will be hoping to help fire Juve into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday with a win or a draw at home to Spanish champions Atletico Madrid (who have already qualified for the kncokout stages), but defeat would see them eliminated should Olympiakos beat Malmo.

"Reaching the knockout stages is fundamental to us," he added. "It is true that we can reach them if we draw, but we are in Turin and we want to play a great game.

"We know it will not be easy - Atletico Madrid are at a very high level. They have something similar in their style of play to how Italian football is. They defend very well and are great on the counterattack.

"We don't care about the risk of finishing second. If you want to win the Champions League, you have to beat anyone you're put up against. We know that anyone we might draw in the next round would be difficult but, if we get past the group stage, let's see how far we can reach."

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