Juventus earned a 3-1 win over 10-man Sassuolo as goals from Danilo, Aaron Ramsey and Cristiano Ronaldo kept them in touch with Serie A leaders Milan.

Sassuolo had frustrated the Bianconeri in the first half but their combative approach saw Pedro Obiang sent off moments before half-time.

Danilo put Juve ahead five minutes into the second half with a powerful long-range strike, yet Sassuolo equalised with a fine finish from Gregoire Defrel.

Sassuolo looked on course to take a point but late goals from Ramsey and Ronaldo secured the victory for Andrea Pirlo's side.

Andrea Pirlo warned the victory over leaders Milan will be "of little use" to Juventus if they fail to defeat Sassuolo on Sunday and says the Rossoneri remain the team to beat in the title race.

Champions Juve ended Milan's 27-match unbeaten run in the Italian top flight with a 3-1 victory at San Siro on Wednesday.

The Turin giants had eased to a ruthless 4-1 win over Udinese in their first match of the year last weekend and an impressive triumph over Milan served as a warning to their rivals.

Juve boss Pirlo stressed the importance of his side maintaining the high standards they have set when they take on a Sassuolo team that are just a point behind them in the table.

The former Italy playmaker said in a media conference on Saturday: "It was an important victory in Milan, at an important moment too, but if we don't win tomorrow, it will be of little use.

"I still consider Milan the team to beat, because they are at the top of the table."

He added: "We take our responsibilities. We have been winning for nine years, it is normal that there is pressure on us. I've asked the team to improve their concentration and mental strength, especially when we take the lead, that is a very important phase.

"We must have the same desire to achieve a result - whoever the opponent is - and then we will see where we are in April."

Matthijs de Ligt became the latest Juve player to test positive for COVID-19 this week, with Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro having missed the win over Milan after contracting the coronavirus.

Pirlo is not feeling sorry for himself after the Netherlands defender joined the list of absentees.

"The positive cases affect us, as they affect anyone. But let's think about moving forward, there are other problems," he said.

"I have four defenders, in addition to [Alessandro] Di Pardo, who can play on the flank. I will choose between them, because we are in the bubble and we cannot summon other players."

Pirlo will be able to call upon Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral at Allianz Stadium this weekend, while Alvaro Morata will be checked on to see if the striker can return from a thigh injury.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli claimed the experience of losing 3-1 to Juventus at San Siro was "healthy" for his side, saying: "We had not felt that for a while."

A Federico Chiesa double and a third goal from Weston McKennie ended the leaders' unbeaten Serie A record this season, consigning them to a first in 28 matches in the Italian top flight.

Milan had 20 shots, but Davide Calabria's equaliser late in the first half was the only one to find the back of the net and Pioli admitted his side were second best on the night.

"We have to tip our hats and give credit to our opponents for managing to get back in front," Pioli told Sky Sports Italia.

"We did what we needed to, created chances and inevitably allowed some, but after going behind for the second time, it became more difficult to get back into it.

"It was a very even game up until the second Juventus goal and I feel that's the moment that changed it.

"We were penalised by their quality in situations where we could’ve been a little more concentrated."

The defeat came on a night when Milan's closest title challengers and city rivals Inter were beaten 2-1 at Sampdoria.

Despite seeing his players miss the chance to go four points clear at the top of the table, Pioli reflected on the positives.

He said: "The lads had their heads down in the dressing room and were disappointed, but in a way it was healthy for us to experience defeat, as we hadn't felt that for a while.

"I gave them a pat on the back, said they ought to be proud of what they achieved in the circumstances.

"We proved that we are a strong team tonight."

Andrea Pirlo hailed the spirit in his Juventus team after they defeated Serie A leaders Milan 3-1 to continue their revival but said he is ignoring results of the teams above them.

The Bianconeri made it three wins from four league matches as Federico Chiesa scored a brace and Weston McKennie netted at San Siro as Milan's 27-match unbeaten run in Serie A was ended.

The result moved Juventus up to fourth in the table, seven points behind Milan with a game in hand, on a night when second-placed Inter lost 2-1 at Sampdoria.

"It was important for us," Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia, reflecting on the result.

"We weren't interested in the results of the teams above us, as we were concentrated on our own progress.

"We'll see in a few months where we are.

"The important thing was this spirit of a team that wants to be in control, especially against the Serie A leaders on their own turf."

Pirlo picked out Chiesa for praise after he took his Juventus goal tally to five since joining on a two-year loan from Fiorentina in October 2020.

The Juve head coach said dynamic attacking performances were the reason they agreed a potential deal to pay Fiorentina up to €50million (£45.3m) for Chiesa when his loan expires.

"We signed him so he could take men on in the final third," said Pirlo, who deployed Chiesa on the right wing behind a front pairing of Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"His position might change, but his role does not."

Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci echoed his coach's call to ignore the results of teams around them, saying his team-mates are focused on Sunday's clash with in-form Sassuolo.

"Our objective is now to beat Sassuolo, that is all," said Bonucci.

"We have to get a run of victories to become more credible and even more of a team."

Federico Chiesa scored a brilliant brace as Juventus ended Milan's unbeaten start to the season and clinched a crucial 3-1 victory that moves the Serie A champions up to fourth in the table.

Andrea Pirlo's men produced a scintillating attacking display to become the first team to beat leaders Milan in the league in 28 matches and did so without leading scorer Alvaro Morata.

Ably assisted by Paulo Dybala on both occasions, Chiesa scored with confident finishes in either half and Milan's waves of attacking pressure found Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in fine form before Davide Calabria found the net.

The Bianconeri, who added a third through substitute Weston McKennie, will hope this was a turning point in a tumultuous season, having played with the guile and poise they have lacked for so much of it, while Milan will reflect on a missed opportunity to extend their lead at the top to four points after Inter lost to Sampdoria.

Juventus' high press overwhelmed Milan early on and Paulo Dybala tested Gianluigi Donnarumma from six yards before Chiesa crashed a thunderous shot onto the post.

With 18 minutes played the Old Lady's superb start paid dividends, Dybala's smart back-heel sending Chiesa into the area and the Fiorentina loanee sent a low shot bouncing into the far corner of Donnarumma's net from 12 yards.

Juve had Szczesny to thank for keeping them ahead with a string of saves but he was powerless to stop Calabria's shot from finding the top corner after the lively Rafael Leao teed him up – although Juventus claimed Adrien Rabiot was fouled in the build-up.

Szczesny got down well to save Diogo Dalot's powerful 20-yard shot as Milan came out firing after the interval but Juve weathered the storm before Aaron Ramsey missed a golden chance to give them the lead, shooting wide from close range with just Donnarumma to beat.

Just after the hour mark, Chiesa struck again, Dybala picking him out on the edge of the box where he bent a superb left-footed shot into the far corner.

Chiesa then left the field with an injury and was replaced by McKennie, who swept home Juventus' third in the 76th minute after a jinking run through Milan's defence by fellow substitute Dejan Kulusevski.

What does it mean? The fightback is on

Juventus have now won three of their last four Serie A matches and are playing with real verve.

Having had such a short pre-season with his side, Pirlo has been playing catch-up but his expansive, fast-attacking style of play seems to be finally bearing fruit as his players cut out defensive errors.

Dybala at his best

Dybala's two assists were as incisive and spectacular as Chiesa's finishes and the Argentina international also won six duels to help Juventus stay on top.

Leao rues missed chances

Milan could have been ahead at half-time had Leao made more of the clear-cut chances that fell to him and, despite his assist for Calabria's goal, he will remember this game for his three unsuccessful shots at goal.

Key Opta Facts

- Juventus have won 14 of their last 16 Serie A games against AC Milan (L2).
- AC Milan are enjoying the third-longest streak of Serie A consecutive matches with a goal: 36. In the history of the competition, the only two longer streaks have both been by Juventus: 43 in 2014 and 44 in 2017.
- Federico Chiesa has been involved in six Serie A goals against AC Milan (3 goals, 3 assists).
- Prior to Wednesday, the last time a player twice assisted the same Juve team-mate was in February 2018 against Sassuolo (Federico Bernardeschi to Gonzalo Higuain).

What's next?

Milan are at home against struggling Torino on Saturday, and Juventus entertain in-form Sassuolo a day later.

Cristiano Ronaldo's performance will be decisive when Juventus meet Milan in a huge Serie A clash on Wednesday, says Andrea Pirlo.

The Juve forward has racked up 14 goals in 11 Serie A games this season, netting a double and adding an assist in Sunday's 4-1 thumping of Udinese.

Pirlo will take charge of a match against Milan, with whom he spent a decade as a player and won the Champions League twice, for the first time.

Despite Ronaldo's form, Juve sit 10 points adrift of impressive leaders Milan, albeit the Bianconeri have a game in hand. 

"From the beginning we have tried to exploit Cristiano for his characteristics, clarity and incisiveness in the final third," said Juve boss Pirlo ahead of the San Siro battle.

"Is he decisive? Of course, as he was everywhere. 

"But it is normal to depend on him when you have such a champion in your team."

With the pressure on for a crucial clash, Pirlo feels it is Milan and not defending champions Juve who are currently the team to beat.

"Milan have not lost in a long time, they are first in the standings and they are the team to beat," he said.

"I see a great spirit in Milan, which leads them to win games. They come into the game off the back of excellent results, they fight and run together and they don't want to lose.

"The table always reflects the values of the championship. We play game after game to move up the standings, looking only at ourselves. We will see in April where we will be.

"We will try to impose our game at San Siro, without fear: these are the good matches to be involved in."


He added: "It will be a special evening for me, having experienced many memories with Milan. It was wonderful as a player, I think it will be the same as a coach.

"We know the importance of the match. We will play our game and do our best. It will be very important, but not decisive.

"We will need to be good at making few mistakes and to play well, technically, in order to not give space to Milan's breakaways, which is one of their strengths.

"In the Italian league you can't give up, not even for a second - every match must be faced with the same concentration. I want to see a Juve convinced of their strength, who play the game we have in mind."

Pirlo was asked for an update on available players after Alex Sandro tested positive for coronavirus.

"After Alex Sandro tested positive, we will have the results of the team's tests in the afternoon - until then we wait," he said.

"[Paulo] Dybala is doing pretty well, he is better after his fever so should be available for the game.

"[Alvaro] Morata is recovering and doing physiotherapy, [Giorgio] Chiellini and [Merih] Demiral are doing quite well, while Arthur and [Adrien] Rabiot have both recovered. 

"On Wednesday, we will evaluate who we will have available to bring to Milan. There will be no excuse for the game - the squad is competitive in all sectors. Other teams have had the same problems."

Milan won 4-2 against Juve in July, so they are looking for back-to-back wins against Juventus in Serie A for the first time since 2010, when Pirlo was playing at San Siro under Leonardo.

Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud would be a useful signing for the Serie A giants.

Giroud, 34, is again linked with a move from Chelsea after making just six starts in all competitions this season.

Juve and Inter are among the clubs linked with the France international, who has managed nine goals for Chelsea in 2020-21.

Pirlo confirmed Juventus' interest as he seeks a back-up forward in January.

"Giroud? We could use him," he told DAZN after a 4-1 Serie A win over Udinese.

"But these are things that [Juventus sporting director Fabio] Paratici knows better than me. 

"We talked about it but let's see if we will do something in the next few days."

Juventus are fifth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Milan, although they have a game in hand.

Andrea Pirlo revealed Juventus were "feeling the fear" from their heavy defeat to Fiorentina before the mid-season break in the early stages of their 4-1 win over Udinese on Sunday. 

Juve suffered a humiliating 3-0 home loss to La Viola in December – their first in the league this season – but the champions bounced back to winning ways in style at the Allianz Stadium. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored either side of Federico Chiesa's cool finish – the 15th consecutive season the Portugal star has scored 20 goals for club and country – before Udinese's Marvin Zeegelaar and Paulo Dybala exchanged goals in the closing stages. 

The result ensured Juve avoided going three consecutive home games without a win for the first time since 2015-16, and Pirlo conceded the defeat to Fiorentina last time out was on his players' minds early on.

"It wasn't the best Juventus, as we were coming off a bad defeat to Fiorentina, so started quite timid and nervous, especially when their forwards ran towards us. We gained more confidence as it went on," Pirlo told DAZN.

"I was not satisfied with the initial approach to the game, as we were still feeling the fear of our last defeat to Fiorentina. The timing of the movements weren't right, especially on the wings.

"We knew that Udinese would try to sit back, counter and wait for our mistakes, but we did well with the preventative marking to ensure they couldn't do that."

Dybala's late goal was just his second in Serie A this season and came after a game in which he lost possession 21 times – seven more than any other Juve player.

Despite his wastefulness with the ball, Pirlo was pleased with the Argentina international's contribution and believes his goal was the result of the forward's improved fitness. 

"We need Dybala, he needs us," the Juve boss added. "He worked very well during the week in training. We could tell during the match that he was in better physical condition and we kept him on to the end because we hoped he would score that goal."

The result could have been different had Rodrigo De Paul's 10th-minute strike not been ruled out following a VAR check for a handball earlier in the move. 

And Rodrigo Bentancur, who laid on Ronaldo's second, acknowledged Juve need to start games with more of a spring in their step, starting with their visit to leaders Milan on Wednesday. 

"We didn't start with the right mentality and conceded that goal, which fortunately was disallowed for handball," Bentancur said. 

"We did better after the break, deserved the victory, but again the mentality dropped at the end to concede that goal.

"I think we need to keep that concentration throughout the 90 minutes. We allowed Udinese too many chances and that should not happen.

"I don't mind if I score goals or not. I provided an assist tonight and that's as good as a goal, because I am helping the team.

"This was a victory we wanted and fought hard for. Now we have a couple of days to rest and prepare for Milan."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus bounced back from their Fiorentina fiasco with a 4-1 win over Udinese at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday. 

Andrea Pirlo's side suffered a humiliating 3-0 home defeat to La Viola before the mid-season break, but they kicked off 2021 with a win that ensured the gap to Serie A leaders Milan remained at 10 points. 

Ronaldo put Juve ahead in the 31st minute with a fine strike after Udinese's Rodrigo de Paul had seen an effort ruled out by VAR. 

Federico Chiesa and Ronaldo then made sure Juve avoided going three consecutive home games without a win for the first time since 2015-16.

Marvin Zeegelaar snatched a consolation for Udinese, but Paulo Dybala had the final say in stoppage time.

 

Andrea Pirlo has been encouraged by the attitude of his Juventus players since their return to training after a home humbling at the hands of Fiorentina brought an awful end to 2020.

Rookie coach Pirlo had been unbeaten in Serie A heading into the final match of last year, with only Juve and leaders Milan yet to taste defeat across Europe's 'top five' leagues at that point.

But the Bianconeri lost that record after they went down 3-0 in Turin following Juan Cuadrado's early red card, just their second home league loss to Fiorentina in 30 years.

A short mid-season break gave the sixth-placed defending champions time to stew on that painful result, which followed a 1-1 draw with Atalanta in their previous home match.

Not since early in the 2015-16 season have Juve gone three home games without a win, however, and Pirlo's men are determined to bounce back when they host Udinese on Sunday.

"I found the players well after a period of vacation," Pirlo told Juventus TV. "On Monday, I found a team eager to restart after the last bad performance.

"We have almost all the players back, so we now look to make a good recovery in the league.

"We talked about the match against Fiorentina, which was completely wrong in terms of attitude and everything; we couldn't end 2020 like this.

"There was a nice meeting where we talked and discussed future goals, so it was also productive."

Although Juve are 10 points off the pace with a game in hand, having drawn six times in 13 matches, Pirlo saw "good progress" in the first part of the campaign.

The Bianconeri won the Scudetto in 2001-02 when they were last held as many as six times through 13 rounds and a similar late-season improvement is anticipated this term.

"I would not like to see more matches like the one with Fiorentina," Pirlo added. "But for the rest, we made a good progress, improving on many aspects.

"I am convinced that we can do even better, because we have everything to be able to do much better."

Andrea Pirlo should have kept quiet rather than wade in on Napoli's successful appeal against their 3-0 forfeit defeat to Juventus and one-point penalty, according to Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli did not turn up for their game in Turin in October and were also docked a point by Serie A after arguing they were banned from travelling by local health authorities as Piotr Zielinski, Eljif Elmas and a member of staff had tested positive for COVID-19.

Juventus also reported two positive cases among staff a day before the game but made clear they intended to play the match at the Allianz Stadium.

Pirlo named a starting XI but the game did not go ahead due to Napoli's absence and was officially abandoned, but the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) ruled the Partenopei had ignored the coronavirus protocols in place, which state a team must fulfil an fixture if they have 13 available players, including a goalkeeper.

Napoli refused to drop the matter and took the case to the Italian National Olympic Committee's (CONI) Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport – the highest sports authority in the country – and it ruled in the club's favour on Tuesday, with the rescheduled game set to take place in 2021.

Pirlo appeared to take a swipe at the ruling this week, saying: "I'm sorry for the other teams who have travelled and lost points without saying anything, leaving and playing without those who had COVID-19. I'm more sorry for them than for us."

Napoli president De Laurentiis was not impressed with Pirlo's remarks and said he should stick to coaching instead of commenting on matters of law.

"Pirlo is not a lawyer by trade, he does not know certain procedures and does not know what has happened in terms of protocols," De Laurentiis told Radio Capital.

"Pirlo should be a coach and that's it, leave certain answers to his club representatives."

Andrea Pirlo refused to blame Juan Cuadrado's dismissal for Juventus' heavy home loss to Fiorentina and instead questioned the attitude of his players heading into the match.

Juve suffered their first Serie A defeat under Pirlo in his 13th league match in charge, going down 3-0 in what was also their heaviest loss since moving to the Allianz Stadium in 2011.

Cuadrado caught Gaetano Castrovilli on the shin and was issued a red card on his 200th appearance for the Turin giants – upgraded from a yellow following a VAR check – with only 18 minutes on the clock.

Dusan Vlahovic had given Fiorentina an early lead by that point and Juve could not respond, conceding again through Alex Sandro's own goal and Martin Caceres' tap-in.

Juve had a couple of penalty appeals turned down in Tuesday's match, their last of 2020, but Pirlo conceded his team simply failed to turn up.

"What happened with the red card cannot be used as an alibi," he told Sky Sport Italia. "The result was not down to Fiorentina's attitude but the lack of ours.

"When this is the case you face bad situations like this. In games before Christmas it can happen then you have your mind on the holidays. We were unfocused and could not recover.

"The images for the sending off seem clear to me. There could have been some decisions in our favour, but that's not something I want to comment on – you can see for yourself.

Juve had more possession than Fiorentina (54 per cent) and more shots (13 to 10) yet ultimately saw a 13-game unbeaten run come to a shuddering halt. 

Leonardo Bonucci in particular struggled – the experienced defender arguably at fault for all three of the opposition goals.

He lost possession six times in all and won only half of his 10 duels, but Pirlo stood by his skipper at full-time.

"Bad evenings like these happen to everyone," he said. "Up until this point he has made some great performances.

"It happens to everyone. He is our captain and we still have great faith in him."

Juve suffered a double title blow of sorts on Tuesday, this defeat to Fiorentina coming hours after Napoli won their appeal against October's abandoned fixture between the sides.

The Bianconeri had been awarded a 3-0 forfeit win after Napoli failed to turn up due to a travel ban put in place by local authorities after Piotr Zielinski, Eljif Elmas and a member of staff had tested positive for COVID-19.

But the Italian National Olympic Committee's Collegio di Garanzia dello Sport – the highest sports authority in the country – ruled in the Napoli's favour, meaning the game must be replayed in early 2021.

Juve are therefore three points worse off, now seven adrift of leaders Milan, and Pirlo questioned the fairness of the decision.

"We don't mind playing the game again. I'm more disappointed for the other teams that have travelled and played without far more players who had COVID," he said. "They showed great fairness by playing anyway.

"I won't say if the ruling was correct or not, but it didn't seem fair to the other teams who carried on and played in more difficult situations."

Andrea Pirlo expects to have Paulo Dybala available again as Juventus bring the curtain down on 2020 at home to Fiorentina on Tuesday.

Dybala, who has been the subject of transfer speculation amid tricky contract negotiations, missed Saturday's big 4-0 win at Parma due to a thigh injury.

The Argentina international has started only five games in Serie A this term, making eight appearances in the competition in total.

His production when on the pitch has also been underwhelming, with one goal from 23 shots while failing to register an assist despite creating 14 chances.

But Pirlo talked up the forward's talents at the weekend and was optimistic he would return against Fiorentina, with encouraging news following on Monday.

"Someone is better: Paulo trained a bit with the team today," Pirlo told Juventus TV. "He is better and I think he can come with us for the match tomorrow.

"[Merih] Demiral is better, too, but Arthur is not available, because he still feels pain where he took the blow against Atalanta."

Juve are one of only two teams in Europe's 'top five' leagues without defeat this season, although they trail Serie A leaders Milan - the other unbeaten side - by four points having drawn six times.

The Bianconeri have not registered back-to-back clean sheets since June - drawing 1-1 with Atalanta before the Parma game - and Pirlo wants to see a more consistent level of performance.

"We are growing rapidly, but it is important to have consistency in the games and the victories," he said. "Only with this can you go on and improve.

"We are doing well and we are improving game after game, but we still have great room for improvement."

Opponents Fiorentina are winless in eight in Serie A, but Pirlo considers the strugglers "a very good team" with "a great class player" in Franck Ribery.

The Juve coach is also familiar with his opposite number, having played under Cesare Prandelli - appointed in November and still waiting on a first victory - with the Italy national team.

"I had a lot of good times with him," Pirlo said. "We had a great European Championship [in 2012], losing the final against Spain.

"He is a kind-hearted person who I had the pleasure of working with for several years, including a World Cup, a Confederations Cup.

"So, I see him again with great pleasure and he deserves something more on the pitch right now."

Pirlo added: "We will have to be careful because it is the last game of 2020 and we need to finish in the best way."

Juve are the side against which Fiorentina have lost the most games (78) and conceded the most goals (266) in Serie A.

Andrea Pirlo insisted Paulo Dybala was important to him amid continued speculation about the Juventus playmaker's future.

Dybala, 27, is again linked with a move away from the Serie A champions despite expectations he would extend his stay at Juve, where he is contracted until 2022.

The Argentina international, who has been linked to Manchester United, missed Saturday's 4-0 win over Parma due to a thigh injury.

Asked if Dybala was important to him, Juve coach Pirlo told reporters: "Absolutely. Champions like him are always fundamental in strong teams."

Pirlo is hopeful Dybala may return as soon as Tuesday, when Juventus host Fiorentina.

"I train all the players. Dybala is one of them. He behaviour is great," he said.

"Unfortunately, he's got this little injury, and yesterday he tried to force it, but he was worried he would hurt himself even more. We hope to have him back on Tuesday."

Juve are third in the Serie A table, a point behind leaders Milan, who visit Sassuolo on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo showed "how much he cares" about scoring as he became the first Serie A player since 1961 to reach 33 Serie A goals in a calendar year.

That was the verdict of head coach Andrea Pirlo after Ronaldo netted twice in Saturday's 4-0 win at Parma, a game bookended by goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Alvaro Morata.

Ronaldo's supporting cast impressed, but there was no doubting the star of the show, the Portuguese leaping impressively to head his first before striking early in the second half to kill off the game.

The game came three days on from Ronaldo missing a penalty in Juve's frustrating 1-1 draw with Atalanta.

Pirlo was impressed by Ronaldo's appetite for the occasion, and the eagerness of the 35-year-old to make up for that spot-kick failure.

"Ronaldo was angry for having missed the penalty, but we had a few days to think about it and he showed how much he cares about scoring goals, even better when during open play," Pirlo said, quoted on the Juventus website.

"We weren't happy with Wednesday's result, but the performance was good. We had to get back the points we lost against Atalanta and we did it in the best way.

"We needed a team win and to score and we did it while playing good football. We are in a good moment, I like how we attack the opponents when they have the ball, we are growing, the right spirit is here, but we are only at the beginning and we will have to have this attitude in every match."

Omar Sivori was the last Serie A player to hit 33 goals in a year, doing so midway through an eight-year stay at Juventus.

Ronaldo could still improve on his own 2020 haul, with Juventus facing Fiorentina on Tuesday in their final game before a short break.

His 33 goals have come from just 28 appearances, with 27 scored with his right foot, four with his left foot and two with his head.

Thirteen of those goals have been penalties, with Ronaldo taking 15 spot-kicks in Serie A since the year began.

Just two of the goals have been scored from outside the penalty area, with Ronaldo firmly established as a predator inside the 18-yard box, while nobody has hit the woodwork in Serie A more often than him this year – the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star being one of six players to do so six times.

The double made him this season's outright top scorer so far with 12 goals, two ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku, whose heroics are driving the challenges of Milan and Inter respectively.

Gianluigi Buffon, who began his professional career with Parma in the mid-1990s, kept a clean sheet for Juventus against his old club.

The 42-year-old goalkeeper has experienced the ups and downs of life at Juventus in almost 20 years with the Bianconeri, across two spells.

And former Italy number one Buffon says it will take a string of stirring displays to be sure rookie coach Pirlo has stamped his mark on the team, who remain unbeaten through 13 rounds of Serie A games.

"Now it will be important for us to put together many convincing performances, showing off a good game, and then we can say that we are Andrea Pirlo's team," Buffon said.

"We will have some highs and lows – as is normal – but when we have the highs, we are good and beautiful to look at."

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