Juventus chief Agnelli aiming to keep pace with Europe's elite clubs

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Andrea Agnelli wishes to reinforce Juventus' position among Europe's elite, suggesting the club must continue to look beyond Serie A dominance, while adding Cristiano Ronaldo is worthy of winning this year's Ballon d'Or.

Juve have won Serie A in each of the past eight seasons, while reaching the Champions League final in 2014-15 and 2016-17 under Massimiliano Allegri.

The Italian giants signed Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo in 2018, reportedly paying €100million for the Portugal forward.

But Juve, while maintaining their control of Serie A last term, failed to make it past the quarter-finals in the Champions League, with Allegri subsequently replaced by Maurizio Sarri, who has taken 22 points from 24 on offer in the league so far.

Now, club president Agnelli has insisted the aim is for Juve to keep pace with Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Europe's other heavyweights at the pinnacle of the game.

After asking Juve's shareholders to approve a €300m capital increase, Agnelli said  "These numbers seem enormous when compared to the Italian reality, but our point of reference is the great European clubs.

"We can affirm that Juventus are the biggest club in Italian football, but also one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

"Our growth is confirmed by our UEFA ranking - we are currently fifth but have reasonable grounds to think about finishing fourth.

"When we look at the main clubs in Germany, England and Spain, we see that their turnover ranges from €489m at Borussia Dortmund to almost a €1billion made this year by Barcelona. These realities must be our benchmark.

"Our current level of turnover, excluding the transfer of players, is about the level of turnover that Real Madrid had when I took over the presidency of Juventus in 2010.

"It is clear that the growth rates we have developed have been higher than those of Real Madrid but there is still a gap, which we must obviously fill."

Ronaldo scored 28 goals across all competitions during his first season at Juve and has five to his name this term.

The 34-year-old was this week included in France Football's 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, an award Agnelli believes he should win for a record sixth time.

"I hope that Cristiano can win the Ballon d’Or because he deserves it," Agnelli added.

Meanwhile, Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved confirmed the club - who spent big on Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt in the off-season - will be ready to capitalise on another Ronaldo-sized opening should one present itself.

"We're always ready to seize every opportunity," Nedved told reporters.

"We've talked about development and we want to develop on all fronts, above all the sporting one because it's a leading part of the club."