Ronaldo 'improving' but in doubt for Atletico clash
Cristiano Ronaldo remains in doubt for Tuesday's Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid in Turin, Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said on
Turin: Cristiano Ronaldo remains in doubt for Tuesday's Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid in Turin, Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said on Monday.
The 34-year-old Portuguese international was rested for Saturday's Serie A game against Atalanta which Juventus won 2-1 thanks to a Gonzalo Higuain double to stay top of the Italian league. "Cristiano trained with his teammates yesterday (Sunday)," said Sarri. "It seems that his condition is improving but we still have to evaluate between today and tomorrow. "The positive thing he was able to play throughout the training session with his teammates." Defender Matthijs de Ligt, who suffered a dislocated shoulder, and forward Federico Bernardeschi, who bruised his chest, also need to be evaluated, Sarri said.
Ronaldo was substituted in Juventus's previous two games including their Champions League game at Lokomotiv Moscow with a slight knee problem. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner and hit back with four goals to help Portugal qualify for Euro 2020. "My relationship with Cristiano is good," said Sarri, "if a player who has won so much is angry about being substituted, it means he still has a lot of motivation, and this is something positive." Juventus are already through to the last 16 and want to finish top of Group D with second-placed Atletico needing a win to guarantee their place. "Atletico are a difficult side to play against, we have to think we want to qualify to be the leader of the group that is our target for tomorrow," said Sarri.
Sarri conceded he was spoilt for choice upfront between Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Higuain. "We have three very strong strikers for just two roles, I think it is an ideal situation, nobody will be able to play 65 matches, including with the national team," continued the Juventus coach. "Playing Dybala, Higuain and Cristiano all together is difficult because of their characteristics, but all three know how to play really well and are comfortable with each other." Higuain, who has scored five goals this season, sat alongside Sarri in the press conference, and praise his coach, who he also played under at Napoli and Chelsea.
"Obviously I spent some of the best season's of my career with Mr Sarri, I know exactly what he wants," said the 31-year-old Argentine who joined the veteran coach at Chelsea last season after an unhappy five-month loan spell at AC Milan. "Compared to last year I had to change something in my head and he (Sarri) helped me a lot. "Mentally and physically I'm in great shape and the manager has been helping me a lot."