With all the stories going on recently about Cristiano Ronaldo and his happiness at Juventus, there wasn’t really a choice for Maurizio Sarri to make after downplaying talk of a rift between them, as noted by BBC Sport.
So much was made of Ronaldo being hooked early in the second half against AC Milan. He stormed off down the tunnel and was clearly furious about it.
Once it became clear he was fit enough to play against Atletico Madrid tonight after missing the win over Atalanta at the weekend, Sarri had to start him. Anything else would only add some serious fuel to any rumours that he’d fallen out with his star player and even lead to speculation over his future at the club.
The former Real Madrid star has always played well against Atletico, so this could be the ideal chance to put himself in a good light with the fans and kick start his season. This stat shows just how good he’s been against them:
Cristiano Ronaldo ? Atletico Madrid
His clutch hat-trick last season completed an incredible comeback for Juve!pic.twitter.com/DRs7Z6nuQB
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 26, 2019
The rest of the starting line up suggests a possible change of shape to a diamond in midfield, with Aaron Ramsey and Paulo Dybala completing an interesting looking front three with Ronaldo.
These fans certainly seem to be looking forward to seeing how it works out:
That looks promising ?
— Wriju Bhattacharya (@CristianoWriju) November 26, 2019
Diamond midfield led by Rambo.
— Drip Connoisseur ? (@Radreezy3000) November 26, 2019
after a long time this one is impressive starting lineup ??
— Zeshan Zafar (@s_h_a_n_79) November 26, 2019
— Amit Champaneri (@AmitChampaneri1) November 26, 2019
I believe in this formation…
Cr7 must grab couple of goals here
— Jegede Feranmi (@Trimsconnect) November 26, 2019
Bring it on
— Shahid Danbatta (@sid_sherheed) November 26, 2019
Aaron Ramsey was always at his best for Arsenal when he ghosted forward and found himself in goal scoring positions. This set up could allow Ronaldo and Dybala to drift wide and take some of the Atleti centre backs with them, so the Welshman should be able to find some space in the central areas.
A win for Juve tonight would see them secure the group and the seeded position for the knockout stages. You always have to fancy them at home, but Atletico Madrid are never an easy team to play against.
If Diego Simeone’s men can find a way to win, they would go top of the group with only one game to go. He’s proven he can set his team up to get a result no matter who they play against, so this could be a massive test for Ronaldo and the new-look formation.