Maurizio Sarri has played down his substitution of Cristiano Ronaldo during Juventus’ 1-0 win over AC Milan on Sunday.
The Portugal international has struggled for form by his own high standards recently and after being hooked in the 55th-minute of the Old Lady’s clash against their fierce rivals, now has just one goal in his last five games.
Why was Ronaldo subbed v Milan? Five things to know…
- Ronaldo was substituted after just 55 minutes of Juve’s 1-0 win over Milan.
- The 34-year-old was replaced by Paulo Dybala, who went on to score the winning goal.
- Reports suggested Ronaldo stormed out of the stadium after being hooked.
- But Sarri has played this down, saying the forward has been carrying a knee injury.
- Ronaldo has scored just one goal in his past five games.
Ronaldo was replaced by Paulo Dybala who went on to score the winning goal just 13 minutes from full-time, with reports emerging that the 34-year-old reacted by leaving the stadium.
This came after the Portuguese was also substituted in Juventus’ Champions League game against Lokomotiv Moscow last week, despite the club needing a winner.
But Sarri has poured cold water on this rumour, insisting Ronaldo has been struggling with a knee injury and that this was merely a “little problem” for him.
“Ronaldo? He should be thanked because he made himself available despite not being in optimal conditions,” he said.
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“In the last month, he has had this discomfort in his knee and this is a little problem for him.”
Higuain becoming “fundamental”, according to Sarri
Striker Gonzalo Higuain has long been a favourite of Sarri’s thanks to their time together at Napoli and has already made a combined 14 appearances in Serie A and the Champions League for Juve this season.
During that time, the Argentine has managed just three goals but has provided an assist in each of his last three appearances.
It’s this ability to provide for his teammates that is securing his place in the Juventus line-up right now, with Sarri claiming the 32-year-old is becoming a “fundamental” player for the club.
He said: “Higuain? For us, he is becoming a fundamental player, who knows how to communicate with his teammates, who sacrifices himself and is always willing to assist.”