Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri said that he took off Cristiano Ronaldo because he didn’t look very well.
The Bianconeri came back to the top of the table after beating AC Milan 1-0 thanks to Paulo Dybala’s winner. Ronaldo started the game but was substituted by the Argentine international in the 55th minute. The 34-year-old seemed far from happy at being replaced and immediately went towards the tunnel.
Sarri said that Ronaldo is not at his best and still has an issue with his knee which is why he subbed him off last night. As quoted by Goal.com, the Juventus manager said: “He did everything possible to play, but I saw he was not well and thought it best to take him off. It’s only natural a player is going to be irritated to leave the pitch, especially when he worked so hard to be there.
“Over the last month, he has had this little knee problem, he had a knock in training and it hurt the collateral ligament. When he trains at high intensity or plays, it unbalances him, so he ends up overcompensating and it damages the calf and thigh muscles. It is affecting his performances and he is not at his best at the moment. All players who are trying to give their best will have at least five minutes of being annoyed when they are substituted, but a coach would in general be much more worried if he didn’t seem upset.”
This was the second successive match where Sarri subbed off Ronaldo, having done the same during the Champions League fixture against Lokomotiv Moscow. Last night’s substitution turned out to be quite the right decision as Dybala went on to score the winner in the 77th minute.
With the international break coming up, Ronaldo might get a good enough break. Portugal’s remaining Euro qualifiers are against Lithuania and Luxembourg and they have a squad strong enough to beat both teams even if the 34-year-old doesn’t play. The reigning Euro champions will qualify for next summer’s finals if they win both their matches regardless of how Serbia do in their remaining qualifiers.