‘Covering his pretty face’: Ronaldo panned for efforts in wall after he DUCKS to avoid ball as Juve concede free-kick goal (VIDEO)

Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of caring more about preserving his good looks than defending the Juventus goal as the Portuguese star made a feeble attempt to block the ball as he lined up in the wall against Parma.

Juventus found themselves behind after 25 minutes of their Serie A encounter with visitors Parma on Wednesday night, after a free-kick strike from the edge of the box by Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Brugman.

It was a side-footed finish into the bottom corner which left Juve ‘keeper Gianluigi Buffon rooted to the spot, but questions were immediately asked about Ronaldo’s defensive posture in the wall as the ball whizzed over his head.

Instead of jumping up in unison with his teammates to attempt to block the strike, Ronaldo remained grounded, covering his face with both arms and meekly dangling out a leg in front of him.

He then turned to watch the ball fly into the bottom corner before trudging off back to the center circle.

The moment was seized upon with glee on social media, with many joking that Ronaldo was more worried about protecting his Hollywood looks rather than carrying out his defensive duties.

"I’m being serious is this man scared of the ball?" chided one Lionel Messi fan. 

"Scared of hurting his pretty face," replied another. 

Ronaldo typically has no trouble using his head at the other end of the pitch, but some observers noted that it wasn’t the first time Ronaldo has been culpable in defensive situations, with a similar occasion coming in Juve’s Champions League second leg against Porto.

On that occasion, the ball had gone through Ronaldo’s legs and into the corner as Juve were dumped out on away goals in the tie.

Ronaldo’s legion of fans also mobilized in his defense, however, claiming there was an ‘agenda’ against their man.

Others pointed out that Ronaldo’s perennial rival Messi doesn’t usually even line up in the wall due to his size.

Thankfully Ronaldo’s blushes were spared on Wednesday as Juventus came back to win 3-1 after a double from Alex Sandro and a header from Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt.     

Ronaldo endured a frustrating night though, failing to add to his tally of 25 Serie A goals for the season and picking up a late yellow card for what looked like dissent.

Asked about whether Ronaldo should remain in the wall after his latest mistake, Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo said: “Unfortunately, these things happen, but we’ll evaluate it over the next few days.”

Pirlo said Juventus would assess Ronaldo's role in the wall after the incident against Parma. © Reuters

The win for the bianconeri keeps them in contention for a top-four finish as they moved into third spot, one point ahead of Atalanta in fourth and five ahead of Napoli in fifth, although both teams have a game in hand on the Turin giants.

At the top of the Serie A standings, Inter Milan edged closer to ending Juve’s nine-year reign as Italian champions as Antonio Conte’s men earned a 1-1 draw at Spezia. Inter are now 10 points clear of local rivals AC Milan, who are on 66 points and went down to a damaging 2-1 home defeat to Sassuolo at the San Siro on Wednesday night.

Watching Juve from the stands on Wednesday was club president Andrea Agnelli, one of the key figures behind the doomed European Super League which has dominated the headlines in recent days.

Agnelli watched from the stands on Wednesday. © Reuters

Agnelli conceded defeat in the breakaway project earlier on Wednesday, admitting that it could not proceed after a host of teams pulled out amid the backlash, including six English participants.

"I remain convinced of the beauty of that project, of the value that it would have developed to the pyramid, of the creation of the best competition in the world,” Agnelli said. “But evidently no [it cannot proceed]. I don't think that project is now still up and running."

Elsewhere, Real Madrid president and Super League chairman Florentino Perez has said the project is “on standby” as he attempts to limit the fall-out from the ill-fated project which died less than three days after its controversial launch on Sunday.    

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