Cristiano Ronaldo extended his goalscoring streak with a breathtaking header to secure a 2-1 victory for Juventus at Sampdoria and put the defending champions back on top of Serie A.
Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon matched Paolo Maldini’s all-time record of 647 Serie A appearances in the game, but Ronaldo found a way to steal the spotlight once again.
The Portugal star leaped above a defender and hung in the air to meet a cross before planting a header into the top of the net for the winning goal on the stroke of half time. Earlier, Gianluca Caprari had cancelled out Paulo Dybala’s opener for Juventus.
“The goal was nice, but I am especially happy to have helped the team to get the three points,” Ronaldo said. “The important thing is to help Juventus win titles.”
Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri said all he could do was applaud. “When someone scores a goal like that you have to just watch and admire,” he said. “Ronaldo scored in the style of an NBA player, he was in the air for an hour and a half.”
The 34-year-old Ronaldo didn’t score a goal in November but now has six in his past five matches.
“I had a problem with my knee which affected me for a month but now I feel very good,” he said.
Juventus moved three points above Inter Milan, who have played a game less.
Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri again started with the attacking trio of Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Ronaldo.
And Dybala gave Juve the lead in the 19th minute when he hit Alex Sandro’s cross on the volley and it bounced on to the ground and into the far corner of the net.
Alex Sandro was then at fault for the equaliser in the 35th when he twice gave the ball away leading to Caprari’s goal.
But the Brazil defender again turned provider with another cross from the left to set up Ronaldo's spectacular header.
Ronaldo thought he had doubled his tally late on but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Caprari was sent off in stoppage time for an elbow on Juventus defender Merih Demiral.