Cristiano Ronaldo injury 'not a big issue' – Sarri

By Sports Desk November 10, 2019

Maurizio Sarri said he is "not worried" about the knee problem that contributed to Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half substitution against AC Milan on Sunday.

Ronaldo was taken off with the Serie A result still in the balance for the second game in succession and the Juve superstar appeared frustrated with the decision.

The 34-year-old forward jogged straight down the tunnel and reportedly left the Allianz Stadium before the final whistle in Turin.

His replacement, Paulo Dybala, later produced an excellent goal to secure Juve a 1-0 victory over struggling Milan.

Ronaldo had underperformed in his 55 minutes on the pitch, leading Sarri to explain the nature of his injury issue.

"He was hit in a training session. He suffered a knee bruise. Maybe the right knee, if I remember correctly," the Bianconeri head coach said.

"It's not a big issue, no twist, only a bruise at the collateral ligament. When he steps he can't push as usual, but I am not worried about it."

Sarri's withdrawal of Ronaldo when three points were up for grabs mirrored the move he made in the midweek Champions League win over Lokomotiv Moscow.

The former Real Madrid man's failure to reappear on the bench attracted criticism from ex-Juve coach Fabio Capello.

"The fact that he didn't sit on the bench and said bad words to Sarri is not a pretty picture," Capello told Sky Sport Italia.

"One must be a champion even when he is replaced, not only when things are going well. Right now, Dybala is in great shape.

"The truth is that Ronaldo has not dribbled past an opponent for three years. I remember it when he went past players and left them there. Now it doesn't happen anymore, while Douglas Costa and Dybala do it.

"If I had been in Sarri's place I would have reproached him in the changing room. I would have told him that he must have respect for his team-mates and if I take him off it is because I want to try to win the game."

Dybala's intervention means Juve remain a point ahead of Serie A title rivals Inter going into the international break.

Blaise Matuidi could be forced to pull out of the France squad following further medical assessment on a suspected rib fracture, Sarri confirmed.

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    Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri reaped the benefits of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain playing together - then warned it may not happen often.

    The front three, who also impressed against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek when Dybala came off the bench, were finally fielded as a starting combination for the first time in Serie A.

    The selection paid off, Ronaldo scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over Udinese with one of his goals being set up by Higuain. Temporarily at least, the result moved Juve back to the top of the league standings.

    However, Sarri suggested it was only due to Udinese's conservative style of play that he decided to start the three forwards together, with the frontline just one possible option for the former Napoli and Chelsea coach.

    "It's the first time that we've managed to really attack the game after a Champions League fixture. We played at a high level for a good 60 minutes," Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

    "At this moment, those three are in good shape and we were facing an Udinese side that doesn't really keep possession, they like to try long balls.

    "I therefore thought this was a situation where we could afford to have them. As soon as Udinese started passing it around more, we struggled, so it is a valuable option for us, but one we cannot use all the time.

    "Our forwards also worked hard to help the defence and press the opposition for the first 60 minutes. In attack, they did what I asked, which was quick exchanges and passing.

    "If we are in a game where the opposition will have 50-50 possession, then it becomes more complicated. They were very organised and focused today.

    "Against Leverkusen, I saw they were getting tired and struggling to keep up the intensity, so I introduced the trident for that reason. Udinese play in a different way, they are not so focused on passing."

    Ronaldo, meanwhile, believes Juventus have found a good way of incorporating all three forwards into the line-up.

    "The most important thing was to win, although we could've had more goals," Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia.

    "I think this is a good way of playing and it's important we must play with confidence. It's not about individual performances, but how we work as a collective."

  • Milan need too many chances to score, says Pioli Milan need too many chances to score, says Pioli

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    Milan remain rooted in mid-table in Serie A following a wasteful display at San Siro on Sunday.

    Theo Hernandez was unfortunate to have a first-half goal disallowed by the VAR, while substitute Rafael Leao hit the woodwork twice in quick succession late on.

    Veteran Sassuolo goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo also made a string of impressive saves, but Pioli says his team must take responsibility for the missed opportunities.

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    Krzysztof Piatek scored in the 3-2 win over Bologna last time out but failed to have an impact on Sunday, and the striker was taken off late on having cut a frustrated figure throughout.

    But Pioli believes the 24-year-old - who has four league goals this season - has not been helped by media pressure.

    "Last week, the media said Piatek was our saviour; now, people are going to criticise again," Pioli said.

    "They need to be more balanced overall in their evaluation. It’s not just him - everyone needs to do better."

     

     

  • Ronaldo only player to reach 10 goals in each of past 15 seasons Ronaldo only player to reach 10 goals in each of past 15 seasons

    Cristiano Ronaldo passed the 10-goal mark for a 15th successive season on Sunday, making him the only player across Europe's top five leagues to accomplish the feat in the same period.

    The Juventus star got a brace as the Old Lady comfortable brushed Udinese aside 3-1 in Turin, returning them to the Serie A summit for at least a few hours.

    Ronaldo opened the scoring in the ninth minute, blasting home from just inside the area after the ball dropped kindly for him.

    He then doubled their lead just past the half-hour mark, steering in following Gonzalo Higuain's incisive pass.

    The goals took his tally to 11 for the campaign across all competitions.

    Portugal star Ronaldo began his double-figure scoring streak in 2005-06 when he netted 12 across all fronts for Manchester United, following that up with hauls of 23, 42 and 26 before heading to Real Madrid in 2009.

    With Los Blancos, the fewest goals he managed in a single season was 33 in his first year at the club.

    In every other campaign at Madrid he scored 42 or more, with his best being a remarkable record of 61 in 2014-15.

    Last term he got 28 in 43 matches for Juventus in his first campaign with the Italian side.

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