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By Peter Hall
(Reuters) - Talking points from the weekend's Serie A matches.
RONALDO PERHAPS WORTH WAGES AFTER ALL
Juventus face a real dilemma this summer, with budgets tight as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Do they blow all their money on a new deal for Cristiano Ronaldo's, or do they let his contract run down at the end of 2021-22, and invest the money on strengthening their squad with younger players?
A Ronaldo-less Juve perhaps provided the answer to that question at Atalanta on Sunday in their 1-0 loss, as Andrea Pirlo's side mustered just one shot on target all match without their injured top goalscorer.
The squad options may be thin, but there remains only one reliable goalscorer in the Juve ranks, an expensive one at that.
TOP-FOUR RACE CONTINUES TO GET PULSES RACING
Not only does the top four race in Serie A look like it is going to go right down to the wire, the in-form sides are not the usual big hitters, making things even more unpredictable.
Atalanta's win over Juventus was their fifth successive victory - the same run Lazio are on after their 5-3 success over Benevento on Sunday.
As Juventus stumble, fifth-placed Napoli also continue to impress, and they were unlucky not to make it six wins in their last seven league games in a 1-1 draw with Inter Milan.
Five different sides have earned 60+ Serie A points after the opening 31 games of a Serie A season for the first time in history. It is impossible to call who will get over the line and secure Champions League football for next season.
PARMA ONLY HAVE THEMSELVES TO BLAME
A lifeline was in sight, with Parma leading 3-2 going into stoppage time in a crucial relegation six-pointer at relegation rivals Cagliari on Saturday.
Second bottom, time is running out for one of Italy's most famous clubs to pull themselves out of the mire, and three points in Sardinia would have dragged 19th-placed Parma within two of safety.
But, to sum up their season, they somehow contrived to concede two goals in stoppage time, both avoidable from a defensive point of view, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The players looked deflated after the final whistle. It is the hope that kills you.
(Reporting by Peter Hall, Editing by William Maclean)