Juventus are looking to win their ninth consecutive Serie A crown but find themselves locked in a battle with an Inter side that are refusing to give up.
After Ronaldo netted a hat-trick in a 4-0 home win against Cagliari and Lukaku got a brace in a 3-1 win away at Napoli, the duo dominated the front covers of Italian newspapers on Tuesday morning.
Gazzetta dello Sport described the two strikers as ‘The Wise Men’ as they celebrated the Juventus-Inter rivalry continuing ‘without breath’ after 18 matches.
This weekend marks the halfway point in the season and so the Italian media is growing increasingly confident that this fight for the title can continue right until the final matches.
Corriere dello Sport ran with the headline, ‘Lions in Winter’, and pinpointed Lukaku’s ‘merciless response’ having earlier seen Ronaldo fire Juventus back to the top of the table ahead of Inter’s match in Naples.
It was Inter’s first win against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo in 23 years, another sign of the strength in this side built by Antonio Conte.
Tuttosport looked to highlight the impact of Lukaku’s strike partner, Lautaro Martinez, after he netted the other goal in the 3-1 win.
The paper described them as ‘the golden couple’ in attack for Conte.
It was a vital win for Inter, restoring them to the top of the league on goal difference once again. For Juventus, it proved to be one of the most convincing performances since Maurizio Sarri arrived to replace Massimiliano Allegri in the summer.
It also represented Ronaldo’s first hat-trick since joining the Turin-based club from Real Madrid and both he and Lukaku are also in contention for the Capocannoniere (awarded to Serie A’s top scorer).
Ronaldo’s hat-trick took his league tally to 13 while Lukaku’s brace later in the day took his total to 14. Both, however, are some way behind Lazio striker Ciro Immobile, who has 19.
Every week brings a new level of importance in the title race, with both sides desperate not to concede ground to the other before they meet in Turin on March 1.
Inter will host free-scoring Atalanta on Saturday at the San Siro while Sarri’s Juventus return to Rome to face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, where they have already lost once – to Lazio on December 7.