21:30 GMT28 July 2021
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    Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic and measures in place to stop the spread of the disease, football celebrity Cristiano Ronaldo was last seen three months ago at the audience- empty Allianz Stadium, during Juventus' 2-0 win over AC Milan.

    As countries start easing COVID-19-induced lockdown orders, fans are rejoicing in a much-awaited return of European football.

    One of those to make a comeback to the pitch has been Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo - the Portuguese professional footballer plays as a forward for Serie A club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team.

    Months since the 1-1 draw opener at San Siro stadium in February, on 12 June Juventus and AC Milan played the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final, marking the return of professional football in Italy.

    With the country – one of the hardest-hit by the epidemic - still recovering from the toll claimed by COVID-19, there were no fans around to witness the action, something that Ronaldo might have been thankful for.

    As the five-time Ballon d’Or winner stepped up for a penalty in the 15th minute, he failed to deliver, slamming the ball into the post.

    Soon after, forward for Serie A club Milan, Ante Rebic was sent off for a high foot.

    ​Fans online were quick to dismiss the shot as either “bad luck”, or an “off-day”.

    ​Some netizens waded into the “Messi vs Ronaldo” debate.

    ​One could argue that football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is somewhat rusty after the pandemic-enforced inaction, and needs some time to swing back into his customary top-notch form. Nevertheless, one can imagine the response from the crowd if there had been one packing the stadium…

    Still, Juventus are through to the Coppa Italia final again, despite drawing a goalless 0-0 draw against AC Milan.

    With 1-1 on aggregate, Juve move ahead on away goals, and are now seeking their fifth Coppa crown in six years.


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    Ante Rebic, Ballon d'Or, Ballon d'Or, penalty kick, penalty, AC Milan, Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo
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